Space Station

Finally The Japanese Billionaire Arrives at Space Station Today

A Russian cosmonaut and two Japanese space tourists are among the crew of three new space travelers who launched to the International Space Station this morning. Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese businessman who proclaimed his goal to travel around the Moon on SpaceX’s future Starship rocket a few years ago, was one of the tourists on board.

The trio took off from Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket at 2:38 a.m. ET, docking with the space station six hours later at 8:40 a.m. ET. Russian astronaut Alexander Misurkin and Japanese tourist Yozo Hirano, who is also Maezawa’s producer and manager, are among Maezawa’s crew members. The crew will stay on the ISS for about 12 days before returning to Earth on December 19th.

Their journey is part of Russia’s re-entry into the orbital space tourism market. The mission comes just two months after Russia sent a Russian actress and filmmaker to the International Space Station to film scenes for the upcoming film The Challenge.

Finally The Japanese Billionaire Arrives at Space Station Today

Maezawa and Hirano, meantime, are going to the ISS as part of a cooperation with Space Adventures, a company that arranges journeys to space for visitors.

In the early 2000s, the business assisted in the planning of seven flights to the International Space Station on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. However, after NASA’s Space Shuttle was retired in 2011, the space agency needed seats on Russia’s Soyuz rockets to transport US astronauts and foreign partners to the International Space Station.

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Maezawa received training in Russia’s Star City with the support of Space Adventures in order to prepare for his flight. Maezawa intends to use Hirano to capture his time on the ISS and broadcast films of his travels on his YouTube page. According to Space Adventures, Maezawa also came up with a list of “100 things to do in space” before his voyage. Playing badminton with Misurkin is one of the things on his bucket list.

Maezawa, who built his money through the online fashion retailer Zozo town, has already expressed an interest in spaceflight. In 2018, the billionaire stated that he had purchased a journey around the Moon on SpaceX’s future Starship rocket, which will one-day transport passengers to the lunar surface and Mars. Maezawa intends to take up to eight people on that trip, dubbed Dear Moon.

He had hoped to bring all artists with him, but in March, he announced a contest to allow anyone from anywhere in the globe to apply to fly with him, with the goal of “giving as many great folks the opportunity to go.” Maezawa also declared plans to record a dating reality program in 2020 in order to locate a woman to accompany him to space, but the proposal was finally shelved.

Maezawa shared a video in July of some of the videotaped applications he received from people who wanted to fly around the Moon with him. In the video, he stated that his team was nearing the end of the screening process to determine the finalists.

Finally The Japanese Billionaire Arrives at Space Station Today

Meanwhile, SpaceX has yet to launch its Starship rocket into orbit. The business has flown rocket prototypes to high heights above the Earth and attempted to land them safely. Only one of the prototypes has managed to land without exploding. SpaceX plans to send its first satellite into orbit in January or February 2022. Even if it is a success, the business still has a long way to go before it can safely fly people to the Moon’s vicinity and then land them safely on Earth.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Starship’s timeframe, Maezawa’s journey to the ISS is a lot faster method for him to get his fix while he waits. Two Russian cosmonauts, three NASA astronauts, and a German astronaut from the European Space Agency will join Maezawa and his crew on the ISS.

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