Japanese tycoon takes off for International Space Station

Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano are the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009.

Published: 08th December 2021 02:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2021 02:41 PM   |  A+A-

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, center, and spaceflight participants Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, left in space suit, and Japanese producer Yozo Hirano, right. (Photo | AP)


MOSCOW: A Japanese billionaire and his producer rocketed to space Wednesday as the first self-paying space tourists since 2009.

Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who plans to film his mission, blasted off for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft along with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

The trio lifted off as scheduled at 12:38 pm (0738 GMT) aboard Soyuz MS-20 from the Russia-leaded Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

Maezawa and Hirano are scheduled to spend 12 days in space.

The two will be the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009.

The price of the trip hasn't been disclosed.

"I would like to look at the Earth from space. I would like to experience the opportunity to feel weightlessness," Maezawa said during a pre-flight news conference on Tuesday.

"And I also have a personal expectation: I'm curious how the space will change me, how I will change after this space flight."


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