HomeTechnologyK-Pop Star Among 8 To Join Japanese Mogul Maezawa's Moon Trip

K-Pop Star Among 8 To Join Japanese Mogul Maezawa’s Moon Trip

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said Friday that the K-pop star TOP will be among eight people to join him on a flyby around the moon in a SpaceX spacecraft next year.

The Japanese tycoon launched plans for the lunar journey in 2018, buying all the seats on the spacecraft. He began receiving applications from around the world in March 2021 for what will be his second spaceflight following his 12-day trip to the International Space Station on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft last year.

The eight people Maezawa selected for his “dearMoon project” are TOP, who debuted as the main rapper of the K-pop group Big Bang; American DJ Steve Aoki; filmmaker Brendan Hall and youtuber Tim Dodd, also from the United States. The other four are British photographer Karim Illiya, Indian actor Dev Joshi, Czech artist Yemi AD and Irish photographer Rhiannon Adam. US Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and Japanese dancer Miyu were cast as endorsements.

TOP’s real name is Choi Seung-hyun. The 35-year-old started out as an underground rapper before joining Big Bang, one of the world’s top boy bands, in 2006.

Maezawa made the announcement on his Twitter and project dearMoon website on Friday, after he tweeted last week that he had an online meeting with Elon Musk and that his “big space announcement” was underway.

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He and the others would be among the first to ride the SpaceX vehicle. The trip is expected to take about a week. The spacecraft will not make a moon landing, but is expected to come within 200 kilometers (120 miles) of the moon’s surface while circling the moon for three days.

The trip is expected to take place next year, although the exact schedule has not been revealed.

Last year, Maezawa, 47, and his producer Yozo Hirano became the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. He has not disclosed the cost of that mission, though reports say he paid $80. millions of dollars.

Maezawa made his fortune in fashion retail, launching Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. In 2019, he stepped down as CEO of e-commerce company Zozo Inc. to devote his time to space travel. Forbes magazine estimates his wealth at $1.9 billion.

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