Crew revealed for SpaceX's first private Starship moon mission

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The crew chosen to fly on SpaceX's first private Starship mission to the moon, paid for by a Japanese billionaire, was finally announced this week after years of planning.

Yusaku Maezawa, a tech and clothing entrepreneur also known for his art collection, announced in 2018 that he had contracted with SpaceX to fly the company's upcoming Starship vehicle on the first private lunar mission. Part of his purchase included eight additional seats for artists and content creators who would help tell the story of the flight that will orbit the moon but not land on the surface.

This week, he made his selections public: 10 total crew members, including two backup crew, will join him on the roughly week-long flight that was originally scheduled to launch in 2023. That timeline will likely push to 2024 or beyond. It also remains to be seen whether the mission known as dearMoon will launch from SpaceX's Starbase operations area in Texas or Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Much of dearMoon's timeline will depend on continued development of Starship and its Super Heavy booster. The system's first orbital launch is expected sometime in the first quarter of next year, but timelines are fluid and subject to change based on testing in Texas.

The crew, according to a dearMoon media kit, includes:

Rhiannon Adam (37, Ireland): A photographic artist, Adam lives and works between London and the U.S. Her work is described as centering on "research-based, long-form, social documentary projects that make use of analogue photographic processes (like film) and archive materials."

Steve Aoki (45, U.S.): Aoki, born in Miami, is a two-time Grammy-nominated music producer, artist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. The Guinness Book of World Records noted him as the "Most Travelled Musician in a Single Calendar Year" in 2012.

Yemi A.D. (41, Czech Republic): A "multi-disciplinary creative," Yemi A.D. has worked with companies like Apple, Google, Mercedes-Benz, and more to help push them into more creative avenues. He also founded JAD Productions, a European production company.

Tim Dodd (37, U.S.): Known as the "Everyday Astronaut," Dodd has amassed more than a million followers on YouTube thanks to videos that take complicated space topics and make them more digestible for everyday viewers. He jumped into his love of space full-time in 2017 after transitioning from photography.

FLORIDA TODAY was one of the first to interview Dodd when he started the YouTube journey (you can read the interview here).

Brendan Hall (28, U.S.): Hall is a documentary filmmaker. Works from his travels around the world have made it into campaigns for National Geographic, Google, Adobe, Netflix, and more. His next project is slated to include personal stories captured across 10,000 miles of U.S. national parks.

Karim Iliya (32, U.K.): Also a photographer and filmmaker, Iliya's main passion revolves around nature. He uses photography and videography "to show a unique perspective and uncover new underwater worlds that few have the opportunity to see." He focuses on birds, whales, and other threatened species.

TOP (Choi Seung Hyun, 35, South Korea): Primarily a musician, Choi Seung Hyun, or TOP, is well-known in South Korea. He got his start with the Big Bang K-pop group in 2007 before venturing into solo music production. Like Maezawa, he also has a sizable art collection.

Dev D. Joshi (22, India): An actor since the age of three, Joshi has been part of dozens of television series, movies, albums, advertisements, and more. He's best known for his role as "Baalveer," an Indian superhero, and was honored by the president of India in 2019.

Kaitlyn Farrington (32, U.S., backup crew): Farrington is a winter sports professional. At 17, she was invited to the U.S. Snowboard Team and won her first Olympic gold at the age of 24. Just after winning gold, she was diagnosed with congenital cervical stenosis, a narrowing of spinal spaces in the neck, and has since retired to "backcountry snowboarding."

Miyu (25, Japan, backup crew): Miyu is a professional dancer and choreographer who's won several titles since starting as a child. She's also known as an entrepreneur who works as a model, brand ambassador, and music video performer.

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Contact Emre Kelly at or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly.

SpaceX's Starship is seen flying near the moon in this rendering by the company.
SpaceX's Starship is seen flying near the moon in this rendering by the company.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Crew revealed for SpaceX's first private Starship mission to the moon