A Japanese billionaire has flown to the international space station.
Fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who intends to film his mission, join the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, accompanied by a Russian cosmonaut.
Maezawa and Hirano are expected to spend 12 days in space. They will be the first paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip has not been disclosed.
“I would like to look at the Earth from space. I would like to have the opportunity to feel the weightlessness”Maezawa said at a pre-flight press conference on Tuesday. “And I also have a personal expectation: I’m curious about how space is going to change me, how I’m going to change after this space flight. “
A company that organized the flight said Maezawa compiled a list of 100 things to do in space after asking the public for ideas. The list includes “simple things of everyday life, maybe other fun activities, but also more serious questions”, said Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures.
“His intention is to try to share the experience of what it means to be in space with the general public”, Shelley told The Associated Press earlier this year.
Mr. Maezawa made his fortune in retail fashion, launching Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $ 2 billion.
The mogul has also booked a flight around the moon aboard Elon Musk’s Starship, scheduled for 2023. Eight contest winners will join him on the trip.