Japanese Billionaire Cancels SpaceX Moon Mission, Crew Devastated

Yusaku Maezawa

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has canceled his highly anticipated flight to the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship, a decision influenced by the spacecraft’s lack of successful test flights. The dearMoon project, which aimed to send a civilian crew to the moon, announced the cancellation on Friday, citing SpaceX’s failure to launch by the end of 2023 and ongoing uncertainty about the mission’s future.

Cancellation Announcement

In a statement on their website, dearMoon explained, “Launch within 2023 became unfeasible, and without clear schedule certainty in the near-term, it is with a heavy heart that Maezawa made the unavoidable decision to cancel the project.” Maezawa echoed this sentiment in posts on X (formerly Twitter), expressing his disappointment over the aborted mission.

“I signed the contract in 2018 based on the assumption that dearMoon would launch by the end of 2023,” Maezawa wrote. “It’s a developmental project so it is what it is, but it is still uncertain as to when Starship can launch.”

The dearMoon Project

Maezawa announced his private SpaceX moon flight in 2018, with plans to take a group of artists on a journey to create works inspired by the trip. Initially, he expanded the guest list in January 2020, searching for a “life partner” to join him on the ultimate romantic adventure, but he quickly abandoned that idea.

Eventually, Maezawa settled on a crew of eight creatives, including U.S. DJ Steve Aoki, K-pop artist T.O.P (Choi Seung-hyun), and YouTuber Tim Dodd. Now, these individuals will have to find other means to get closer to the moon.

Maezawa himself has experience in space travel, having taken a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station for a 12-day trip in 2021. However, the cancellation of the dearMoon project marks a significant setback in his lunar ambitions.

Crew Reactions

The decision to cancel the mission has left the crew members devastated and disappointed. Some have publicly criticized Maezawa for his unilateral decision. Photographer and crew member Rhiannon Adam responded to Maezawa on X, stating, “You didn’t ask us if we minded waiting or give us an option or discuss that you were thinking of canceling until you’d already made the decision.”

Filmmaker Brendan Hall concurred, emphasizing that the cancellation was Maezawa’s decision alone. “Our crew has stayed well informed of Starship’s development and were aware that we would potentially be investing many years into this mission. The cancellation of this mission was sudden, brief, and unexpected.”

YouTuber Tim Dodd shared similar sentiments, noting that he had no prior knowledge of the possibility of cancellation and would have reconsidered his involvement had he known it could end abruptly. “I voiced my opinions, even before the announcement, that it was improbable for dearMoon to happen in the next few years,” Dodd wrote.

READ ALSO: Motorola’s 2024 Edge Mid-Ranger: Bigger, Better, and More Affordable

SpaceX’s Challenges

SpaceX has faced significant challenges with Starship’s development. The first test flight in April ended in failure, followed by another unsuccessful attempt in November. The third flight in March managed to reach orbital speed, but SpaceX lost contact with the spacecraft before the planned landing.

Space flight is inherently difficult and dangerous, and Starship’s initial failures are not unexpected. However, these setbacks highlight the long road ahead before Starship is ready to safely transport humans.


The cancellation of the dearMoon project marks a significant disappointment for Maezawa and his chosen crew. While Maezawa’s decision is understandable given the uncertainties and risks involved, the emotional impact on the crew and their dashed lunar dreams is palpable. As SpaceX continues to develop Starship, the hope for a future civilian moon mission remains, albeit on an uncertain timeline.

Phonesites banner
Juphy banner
Ad creative Banner

Leave a Comment