Billionaire Promised Crew Free Flights Around Moon, Then Dashed Their Dreams

Dearly Departed

After promising eight artists and musicians that they'd get free flights around the Moon on a SpaceX Starship, the Japanese billionaire behind the dearMoon space tour has completely let down his would-be crew.

Last week, e-commerce billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced on X-formerly-Twitter that he was canceling the dearMoon tour due to SpaceX missing deadlines, a move that's left his crew — including famed DJ Steve Aoki — blindsided.

"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 CEO of Japan's Zozotown e-commerce platform, wrote in his tweet thread. "I apologize to those who were excited for this project to happen."

As reports, crew reactions to the surprise decision have ranged from understanding to criticism — with much more verbosity in the latter category.

"I’m sorry, but as a crew member this doesn’t wash," Irish photographer Rhiannon Adam, one of the members of the erstwhile dearMoon crew, responded on X. "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."

"I can only speak for myself," she continued, "but I’d have waited till it was ready."

Feeling Frenzy

Brendan Hall, a 29-year-old filmmaker who was also slated to travel aboard the SpaceX rocket around the Moon, posted his own lengthy statement condemning the seemingly-abrupt decision.

"Our crew, from the many conversations we've had together, were ready to wait as long as it took for this flight to happen," the youthful documentarian wrote. "As many of us know, shifting timelines are the inherent nature of spaceflight. Every day the space industry is achieving a milestone that at one time was thought to be impossible."

"Through these years, our crew has stayed well informed of Starship's development through publicly available information and discourse, and were well aware that we would potentially be investing many years into this mission," he continued. "The cancellation of this mission was sudden, brief, and unexpected."

Multi-disciplinary artist Yemi A.D., meanwhile, tweeted that although news about the dearMoon cancellation was "unfortunate," his "commitment to space-exploration projects and supporting young, disadvantaged individuals in achieving their own Moonshots remains unwavering."

It's certainly a sad ending to an otherwise inspirational story — but given that Maezawa essentially said "let them eat cake" during his last spaceflight at the end of 2021, it's not all that surprising, either.

More on failed space tourism: NASA Slaps Down Billionaire's Plan to Fly Up and Fix Hubble Space Telescope