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Japanese tycoon takes off on the International Space Station

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Yusaku Maezawa

In this photo released by the Roscosmos Space Agency, Japanese spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa, main crew member of the new Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (ISS) before launch at the airport Russian chartered Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, December 8, 2021. (Pavel Kassin, Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) – A Japanese billionaire and his producer launched into space Wednesday as the first self-paying space tourist in more than a decade.

Fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who planned to film his mission, launched to the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

The trio took off as scheduled at 12:38 pm (0738 GMT) aboard the Soyuz MS-20 from the Russian-led Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

Maezawa and Hirano are expected to stay in the 12-day space. Both will be the first self-sufficient tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip has not been disclosed.

“I want to see the Earth from space. I wanted to experience the opportunity to feel weightless,” Maezawa said at a pre-flight press conference on Tuesday. “And I also have a personal expectation: I’m curious how space will change me, how I will change after this spaceflight.”

A flight organization company said Maezawa compiled a list of 100 things to do in space after consulting the public. The list ranges from “simple things about everyday life, maybe some other fun activities, to more serious questions,” said Space Adventures President Tom Shelley.

“His intention was to try to share the experience of what it means to be in space with the public,” Shelley told The Associated Press earlier this year.

Maezawa has succeeded in retailing fashion, having founded Japan’s largest online fashion hub, Zozotown. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $2 billion.

The tycoon has also booked a flight around the moon aboard Elon Musk’s Starship, scheduled for 2023. He will be joined on that trip by eight contest winners.

https://www.yourbasin.com/news/japanese-tycoon-takes-off-for-international-space-station/ Japanese tycoon takes off on the International Space Station

PaulLeBlanc

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