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Britons flock to make private trip around the Moon

Jamie Harris, PA Science Technology Reporter
·2 min read

Space-mad Britons have jumped at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly around the Moon after a search was launched to fill eight seats aboard a private lunar expedition.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa invited civilians to apply for a place on the voyage, which is set to take place on SpaceX’s Starship no earlier than 2023.

As of Thursday morning, the entrepreneur said he had received more than 300,000 applications from 237 countries and areas, with demand from those in the UK ranking at number five.

The most amount of requests have so far come from India, followed by the US, Japan and France.

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Applications to be a crew member of the dearMoon Project will remain open until March 14.

I have bought all the seats so it will be a private ride,” Mr Maezawa said in a video on Wednesday.

“I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join.”

The 45-year-old had originally sought artists to accompany him on the trip, which was first announced in September 2018.

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However, he decided to broaden the search to a “more diverse audience”, provided they are prepared to “push the envelope” creatively and able to support other crew members “who share similar aspirations”.

It is expected to take three days to reach the Moon, loop around it, and three days to return to Earth, Mr Maezawa said.

There will be between ten and 12 people on board the ship in total.

SpaceX carried out tests on its Starship SN10 rocket on Wednesday, the same model that will be used for the dearMoon Project, according to Mr Maezawa.

Although the prototype managed to touch down in Texas, minutes later it exploded and burst into flames.

“RIP SN10, honorable discharge,” SpaceX owner Elon Musk tweeted.