ISS About to Open Doors to a Rare Guest

Expect to hear from billionaire space tourist Yusaku Maezawa on YouTube, Twitter
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2021 6:21 AM CST
Japanese Billionaire Bound For ISS
The Soyuz-2.1a rocket booster with Soyuz MS-20 space ship carrying Russian Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, and spaceflight participants Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, and Japanese producer Yozo Hirano blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.   (Ivan Timoshenko/Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

(Newser) – Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been launched into space on what CNN calls “the first self-funded tourism mission to the International Space Station in a decade." "In total, seven self-funded individuals have visited the space station and Mr. Maezawa plans to be the 8th and the first from Japan," according to US-based company Space Adventures, which has organized tourist space flights since the 2000s. Maezawa set off on a Russian-built Soyuz capsule from Kazakhstan at 2:38am ET Wednesday and was to arrive at ISS around 8:41am ET. "I'm so curious 'what's life like in space'? So, I am planning to find out on my own and share with the world on my YouTube channel," Maezawa, founder of Japanese e-commerce site Zozotown, said in a statement.

The 46-year-old is joined by Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and his production assistant and videographer Yozo Hirano, whose cameras will be rolling during the 12-day trip. Maezawa has already shared scenes from a three-month training program. On Nov. 27, he tweeted a video of him spinning around in a chair. "Almost feels like torture," he wrote. On Tuesday, he told reporters that he felt "like an elementary school student about to go on an outing," per the Guardian. "I feel fortunate to have this opportunity and to finally fulfil my dream." Space Adventures didn't say how much Maezawa paid for the adventure but confirmed current market prices are around $50 million to $60 million, per CNN. (Maezawa is also scheduled to fly around the moon.)

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