Japanese Billionaire Cancels Historic Moon Mission Due to Development Delays

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Japanese Billionaire Cancels Historic Moon Mission Due to Development Delays

Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Cancels "dearMoon" Mission

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has cancelled his ambitious "dearMoon" mission, which aimed to be the first private flight around the moon. The project announced the cancellation on Saturday, citing "unfeasible" timelines for the circumlunar flight.

The mission, originally scheduled for late 2023 with celebrities on board, faced delays due to uncertainties surrounding the development of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft. Maezawa, who signed the contract in 2018, expressed frustration with the lack of a clear launch date.

"It's a developmental project so it is what it is, but it is still uncertain as to when Starship can launch," Maezawa said. "I can't plan my future in this situation, and I feel terrible making the crew members wait longer, hence the difficult decision to cancel at this point in time."

Maezawa, the founder of Japanese online fashion store Zozo Inc, was named SpaceX's first private passenger in 2018. He later became the first private passenger to visit the International Space Station in over a decade, launching on a Soyuz rocket in 2021.

In 2022, Maezawa announced K-pop star TOP and DJ Steve Aoki as part of the eight-member crew for the dearMoon mission. However, the mission's delay to this year or later ultimately led to its cancellation.

The project team expressed their gratitude to supporters and apologized for the outcome. They acknowledged the disappointment but emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety and feasibility.