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SpaceX Names Yusaku Maezawa As Their First Private Passenger

SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

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Yusaku Maezawa, the chief executive of Zozo, which operates Japan's popular fashion shopping site Zozotown and is officially called Start Today Co, speaks at an event launching the debut of its formal apparel items, in Tokyo, Japan. VOA
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SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space transportation company, on Monday named its first private passenger as Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo.

A former drummer in a punk band, billionaire Maezawa will take a trip around the moon planned for 2023 aboard its forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.

The first person to travel to the moon since the United States’ Apollo missions ended in 1972, Maezawa’s identity was revealed at an event on Monday evening at the company’s headquarters and rocket factory in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.

 

Elon Musk, spacex
Elon Musk. IANS

 

Maezawa, who is most famous outside Japan for his record-breaking $110 million purchase of an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, said he would invite six to eight artists to join him on the lunar orbit mission.

The billionaire chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, Musk revealed more details of the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that he promises will shuttle passengers to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars. The BFR could be conducting its first orbital flights in about two to three years, he said.

Musk had previously said he wanted the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.

“Its not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight,” Musk said of the lunar mission.

SpaceX
SpaceX’s BFR launch vehicle is seen in this handout image provided. VOA

The amount Maezawa is paying for the trip was not disclosed, however, Musk said the businessman outlaid a significant deposit and will have a material impact on the cost of developing the BFR.

The 42-year-old Maezawa is one of Japan’s most colorful executives and is a regular fixture in the country’s gossipy weeklies with his collection of foreign and Japanese art, fast cars and celebrity girlfriend.

Maezawa made his fortune by founding the wildly popular shopping site Zozotown. His company Zozo, officially called Start Today Co Ltd, also offers a made-to-measure service using a polka dot bodysuit, the Zozosuit.

With SpaceX, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, Maezawa will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels.

SpaceX
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. VOA

 

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber. A 90-minute flight costs $250,000.

Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July.

SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-cost reusable Falcon 9 rockets. The company has completed more than 50 successful Falcon launches and snagged billions of dollars’ worth of contracts, including deals with NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Also Read: Why Elon Musk has Suddenly Gone Ballistic On Twitter

SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world. (VOA)

 

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‘Explore’ Gets Tested On Google Chrome

To enable the "Explore" interface, users can go to chrome and search for "explore"

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Google is reportedly testing a new content discovery interface in the Chrome browser’s new tab page called “Explore”, which users can access on Android by enabling an experimental flag.

According to a report by tech website Android Police, the interface is in its early stages, and contains a large number of placeholder sites at the moment — most of them of specific interest to Indian users.

Google
A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company’s offices in Toronto. VOA

The report suggests that the feature will not, necessarily, be targeted at the Indian market, adding that the websites appearing in this new user interface (UI) have been chosen as examples by whoever is in the process of developing it.

In short, you can think of “Explore” as an extremely broad “channel” browser meant to present websites that could potentially be of interest to you, the report said.

Google
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif

It’s not clear if this will be based on your individual habits (knowing Google, though, that’s almost certainly a yes) or if it will be more broadly tailored to locales and regions than specific users, it added.

Also Read: Instagram Releases Tools To Combat Bullying

To enable the “Explore” interface, users can go to chrome and search for “explore”, and you should see the “Explore websites” flag.

Set it to ‘enabled’ and relaunch Chrome, then open a new tab. The “Explore” interface should then appear on the new tab page. (IANS)