Fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa heads to the International Space Station for 12-day adventure


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Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa has taken off into space and will board the International Space Station on Wednesday to begin a 12-day adventure among the stars.

Maezawa and his producer, Yozo Hirano, left in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft accompanied by Alexander Misurkin, a Russian cosmonaut. The two men are the first paying tourists to visit the International Space Station since 2009.

They are expected to dock with the International Space Station later Wednesday.

Maezawa got the general public involved in his great adventure and asked for help with ideas on what to do in space. He ultimately created a list of 100 things, including “from simple things about everyday life to maybe other fun things to do, to more serious questions as well,” said Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures.

Space tourism is increasingly popular among the wealthy. Virgin CEO Richard Branson traveled to the suborbital space in July, as did Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, CNN reported.

In 2001, American millionaire Dennis Tito became the first space tourist when he visited the International Space Station, CNN reported.

“I was euphoric. I mean, it was the greatest time of my life, to achieve a life goal, and I knew then that nothing could ever beat that,” he said.

Speaking of the adventure that lies ahead, in a pre-flight news interview on Tuesday, Maezawa said, “I would love to look at Earth from space. I would love the opportunity to feel the weightlessness. .

“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.”

Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (center) and spaceflight participants Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (left) and his assistant Yozo Hirano during training for their expedition to the International Space Station in Star City, near Moscow , in Russia, on October 14, 2021.
Shamil Zhumatov / Pool / AFP / Getty Images

“His intention is to try and share the experience of what it means to be in space with the general public,” Shelley told AP earlier this year.

Hirano plans to film the mission.

The trio took off as scheduled at 12:38 (07:38 GMT) aboard the Soyuz MS-20 from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch center in Kazakhstan and docked at the orbiting outpost nearly six hours later.

In a few more hours, the crew will be able to open the hatches and proceed to the space station from the Soyuz.

The price of the trip was not disclosed.

Maezawa made his fortune in fashion retail, launching Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $ 2 billion.

The tycoon has also booked an overflight around the moon aboard Elon Musk’s spacecraft which is tentatively scheduled for the next few years. He will be accompanied on this trip by eight competition winners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Yusaku Maezawa, Space Flight, Tourist
In this photo released by the Roscosmos space agency, space flight participant Yusaku Maezawa from Japan, a member of the main crew of the new Soyuz mission to the International Space Station, gestures before launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome rented by Russia in Kazakhstan on December 8, 2021.
Pavel Kassin, Roscosmos Space Agency / AP Photo

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