Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa takes to space – .

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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa takes to space – .



Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who will command the mission, and Maezawa’s production assistant and videographer Yozo Hirano, who will capture images of the fashion mogul as he floats around the orbiting space station, join Maezawa during of his 12-day trip aboard the ISS. .

“I’m so curious” what is life in space like “? So, I plan to find out for myself and share with the world on my YouTube channel, ”Maezawa said in a recent statement.

This mission illustrates the radical change that the global space industry has taken over the past decade. Such space tourism missions have already taken place – namely eight similar missions for rich thrill seekers launched to the ISS in the 2000s, all organized aboard Soyuz capsules by the American company Space Adventures. But those missions took a hiatus after the withdrawal from NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011, leaving the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the only option for transporting even professional astronauts to the ISS.

But now, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has stepped in to provide additional transportation to the space station for American astronauts, freeing up space for tourists. And the broader space tourism sector is booming. Recent space trips for wealthy adventurers have included a charitable fundraising trip for four tourists aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule in September, and several space trips – including by the founders of the company. space billionaire Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson – on brief suborbital rocket trips that grazed the edge of space.

The ISS has already welcomed a few novices to space flights this year. A Russian actress and director spent 12 days on the space station in October to film part of a movie in a historic premiere.

You may also recognize Maezawa’s name, as he first made international headlines in 2018 by announcing separate plans to hitchhike a future SpaceX spacecraft, called the Starship, to the moon as early as 2023, in the United States. sides of eight artists chosen by Maezawa. Those plans are still in the works, but he apparently chose to get metaphorically wet in the space travel world by also reserving this mission for the ISS, which orbit a few hundred miles above Earth.

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It is not known how much Maezawa, who made his fortune with Japanese e-commerce site Zozotown, paid for the mission. Space Adventures, which planned the Maezawa flight as well as the 2000s ISS tourist flights, declined to share a figure. Previous Space Adventures flights to the ISS cost travelers between $ 20 million and $ 40 million, Tom Shelley, president of the company, acknowledged in an interview with CNN Business.

But he added that current market prices are more between $ 50 million and $ 60 million.

“It’s definitely in the tens of millions of dollars,” Shelley said.

Shelley also noted that after an extended hiatus, Space Adventures noticed a dramatic shift in public awareness of space flight opportunities.

“When we were doing this 10 or 15 years ago… a lot of people just didn’t know it was possible to fly in space as a private citizen,” he said. “But now, at the dawn of 2021, there is really a heightened awareness within the market, and therefore the discussion is different. “

Maezawa and Hirano, both new to space flight, had to go through a three-month training program for their flight, and Maezawa shared snippets from his not always pleasant experiences on social media.

But the training was less intense than some of the early missions, Shelley said.

” When [millionaire] Dennis Tito took the plane in 2001, his training was quite long. I think it was six months or more, because no one had really done it before, ”he said. “Over the years, we have been able to reduce some of the training requirements. “

Maezawa, Hirano, and Misurkin will return from the ISS on December 19, flying on the same Soyuz capsule as the first leg of their journey. If all goes according to plan, they will parachute out to land in a remote area of ​​Kazakhstan, as is standard procedure for a Soyuz flight.



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