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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

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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Governments Need to Regulate Technology, Says Apple CEO Tim Cook

In the US, PAC is an organisation that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation

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Apple, Tim Cook, Campus, China
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple iPhones and other products at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products in Cupertino, California. VOA

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that governments need to regulate technology in order to ensure data privacy for common people.

“Technology needs to be regulated. There are now too many examples where the no rails have resulted in a great damage to society,” The Verge quoted Cook as saying during the Time 100 Summit in New York City.

“We all have to be intellectually honest, and we have to admit that what we’re doing isn’t working,” he added.

In a bid to explain to US-based lawmakers what he meant, Cook cited the example of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data privacy rules in Europe.

ipad, Apple, iphone XR
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event to announce new products, Oct. 30, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. VOA

“Europe is more likely to come up with something. GDPR is a step in the right direction,” Cook said, adding “We are advocating strongly for regulation – I do not see another path at this point.”

However, for improving data privacy, he said he does not promote going overboard with depending on the government or leveraging the government with favours and cited Apple as an example.

Also Read- Xiaomi Aims 10,000 Retail Stores in India by 2019

“We cannot look for the government to solve all of our problems. Apple doesn’t have a Political Action Committee (PAC) and I refuse to have one because it shouldn’t exist. The company donates zero to political candidates,” Cook noted.

In the US, PAC is an organisation that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation. (IANS)