Japanese tycoon flies to the International Space Station

A Japanese billionaire and his producer took to space on Wednesday as the first self-paying space tourists in more than a decade.

Fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who plans to film his mission, flew to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

The trio took off as scheduled at 12:38 (07:38 GMT) aboard the Soyuz MS-20 from the Russia-led Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

Maezawa and Hirano are expected to spend 12 days in space. The two will be the first paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip has not been disclosed.

Read also | Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will make childhood dream come true with space flight

“I would like to look at Earth from space. I would love 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 theft said Maezawa compiled a list of 100 things to do in space after asking the public for ideas. The list includes “from simple things about everyday life to maybe other fun things to do, to more serious questions as well,” said Space Adventures president Tom Shelley.

“His intention is to try to share the experience of what it is like to be in space with the general public,” Shelley said. The Associated Press earlier this year.

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 2023. He will be accompanied on this trip by eight contest winners.

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