Czech choreographer Yemi A.D. will be among the eight crew members to join Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa’s crew on a trip around the Moon next year on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets.
Four years after announcing that he’d lead an around-the-moon mission aboard SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has named the eight people he wants to fly with him.
In 2018, Maezawa said he’d fund a mission aimed at letting creative artists on the level of the late Pablo Picasso or Michael Jackson experience a trip beyond Earth orbit. Some of the people he’s picked are making use of creative channels that didn’t exist when Picasso was in his prime.
The eight crew members — and two alternates — were chosen out of more than a million people from 249 countries and regions who registered their interest via Maezawa’s DearMoon website.
Here’s the eight primary crew members:
- Steve Aoki, an electronic dance music artist, DJ and record producer, born in Miami.
- TOP (Choi Seung Hyun), a South Korean rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor.
- Yemi A.D., a Czech choreographer, art director and actor. (Video)
- Rhiannon Adam, an Irish-born photographic artist specializing in portraiture and social documentary projects.
- Tim Dodd, a science communicator from Iowa who created the “Everyday Astronaut” YouTube channel.
- Karim Iliya, a photographer and filmmaker who focuses on wildlife and marine environments, based in Iceland.
- Brendan Hall, an American documentary filmmaker and night sky photographer.
- Dev D. Joshi, an Indian television actor best-known for his role as a superhero named Baalveer.
Two backup crew members were also announced, in case any of the primary crew members have to bow out:
- Kaitlyn Farrington, an Idaho-born snowboarder and 2014 Olympic gold medalist.
- Miyu, a Japanese dancer, artist and model.
Simply known as Yemi AD, the Czech-born Nigerian artiste, Yemi Akinyemi Dele started off as a dancer, choreographer but later moved behind the scene to work with top artistes and global brands, including Grammy Award winner, Kanye West. Yemi AD who grew up with his mother in the Czech Republic.
Starship is a work in progress
SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket is still in development at the company’s testing facilities in South Texas. A few early prototypes have conducted brief “hop tests,” some of which have flown a few miles above Earth, but the company has not yet tested Super Heavy, a gargantuan, 69-meter rocket booster that will be needed to propel the 50-meter Starship spacecraft into Earth’s orbit or beyond.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said for months that it’ll be prepared to conduct the test soon, though the company is still waiting on a launch license from federal regulators.
Musk had previously said he expects Starship will be conducting regular flights by 2023, but it’s not clear if SpaceX will hit that deadline. The aerospace industry is notorious for projects that take far longer — and tally much higher expenses — than first anticipated.
If early test flights of Starship are successful and the Dear Moon mission gets off the ground, Maezawa’s crew could be the first group of private citizens to venture beyond low-Earth orbit.
The six-day mission is expected to spend three days reaching its destination and take a slingshot trip around the moon before returning to Earth.