‘Sudden, brief and unexpected:’ dearMoon crew mourns cancellation of private SpaceX Starship lunar mission

The dearMoon team shared their disappointment on social media after the sudden cancellation of the mission.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa canceled his planned flight around the moon on June 1 due to delays with SpaceX’s Starship megarocket, which has one crewed test flight yet to fly. Maezawa first booked the private tour in 2018 and invited eight artists to join him in anticipation of the project, called dearMoonto be launched by the end of 2023.

“I can’t plan my future in this situation, and I think it’s terrible to make crew members wait longer, so the difficult decision to cancel at this point,” said Maezawa in statement on X (formerly Twitter). “I apologize to those who were excited for this project to happen.”

Related: Japanese billionaire cancels private flight around the moon on SpaceX’s giant starship

The IS dearMoon team There were eight creative people working in disciplines from music to photography, film and YouTube. Although no scientific experiments or other responsibilities were expected of the crew (other than basic mission safety obligations), the artists were expected to create labor inspired by the journey.

After Maezawa’s decision to end the mission, some of the crew have expressed disappointment that they lost their chance to fly in space.

“I regret to share this unfortunate story,” said Yemi AD, one of the dearMoon crew members and a multidisciplinary creator, in statement on X. “Although the #dearMoon mission has come to an end, my commitment to space exploration projects and supporting disadvantaged young people to achieve their own Moonshots remains the same.”

Everyday Astronaut crew member and founder Tim Dodd also shared feelings of disappointment in the lengthy response to the mission’s cancellation. “But the truth is, I will have to allow myself to grieve this loss because it became a big part of my life, my dreams and my vision” said Dodd in his post on X.

Meanwhile, other members of the crew criticized Maezawa’s decision, suggesting that it was made unilaterally and hastily.

“You didn’t ask us if we wanted to stay or give us a choice or discuss that you were thinking about canceling until you had already made the decision,” said MoonMoon crew member Rhiannon Adam and a photographer from Ireland, i. statement on X. “I can only speak for myself but I would wait until he was ready.”

Filmmaker and crew member Brendan Hall shared similar sentiments in a public statement shared online, suggesting that the decision to cancel was solely Maezawa’s and that the crew would have waited longer for Starship to be ready.

“Our team, from the many conversations we had together, were prepared to wait as long as it took for this flight to happen,” Hall said in the statement. “As many of us know, shifting timelines are the inherent nature of spaceflight. Every day the space industry is achieving milestones that were once thought impossible. In recent years, for Our crew remained aware of Starship’s development in public, the information and discourse that was available, and they knew very well that we could be investing many years in this mission.

SpaceXStarship and its Super Heavy booster are the world’s tallest and most powerful rocket ever to fly. The IS first unmanned test flight was launched in April 2023, but failed to reach space. Second test flight in November 2023 flew higher but also failed.

During the vehicle’s third flight test, on March 14 this year, Starship reached orbital velocity, but neither the spacecraft nor the booster survived re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. A Starship’s fourth test flight launched on June 6, during which the vehicle made a successful landing burn before splashing down in the Indian Ocean.

Despite the vehicle’s progress, Maezawa’s decision to cancel the flight ultimately came down to uncertainty about when Starship would be ready to fly the DearMoon mission.

“I understand the financial implications for MZ, that this was expensive. It was a generous dream. But the reality is that all it was,” said Adam in another post on X. “To remove it so unceremoniously and with little care for us – that will undermine the stated mission values ​​that we have come to trust.”

Dodd also cited the project’s optimistic timeline and lack of transparency.


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“The one thing I’m having a hard time reconciling with is the timeline. If I had known this could have ended within a year and a half of announcing it publicly, I wouldn’t have agreed to it,” Dodd later said in his post on. X. “We had no prior knowledge of this possibility. I expressed my views, even before the announcement, that it was improbable that dearMoon would happen in the next few years.”

While Dodd noted that he was “very disappointed,” he also stated that he has “made new friends, had new adventures and learned more about [himself]” via dearMoon, despite canceling the mission.

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