Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), where he will spend 12 days in orbit.
Space tourist: The thrill-seeking entrepreneur reached the ISS along with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and Japanese film producer Yozo Hirano aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket at 8:40 a.m. EST on Wednesday, reported The New York Times.
- For the mission, Misurkin will serve as the 46-year-old entrepreneur’s assistant, while Hirano will document the entire mission.
- To prepare for the trip, Maezawa underwent weeks of training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center, which is located near Moscow.
- On the eve of the launch, Maezawa told the press that he was “blessed with this opportunity” and excited as an “elementary student waiting for a school trip.”
- According to Maezawa, he listed 100 activities to do during his stay at the space station, including playing an instrument, searching for aliens, getting a haircut and giving away money online.
Pricey seats: Maezawa, who is estimated to be worth $1.9 billion, booked his ISS trip seats through space tourism company Space Adventures.
- The Virginia-based company’s CEO and co-founder, Eric Anderson, hinted that the billionaire paid around the same amount ($70 million to $100 million per seat) that NASA paid for its astronauts’ trips to the ISS between 2011 and 2020.
- “The price hasn’t gone down, it’s gone up over the years,” Anderson told The New York Times. “He’s got two seats, and it’s expensive, but it’s worth it.”
To the moon and back: Maezawa is also set to be the first passenger to ride SpaceX’s next-generation rocket Starship, which is scheduled to fly around the Moon in 2023, as NextShark previously reported.
- His planned lunar voyage was initially criticized after he launched a contest to find his “life partner” who would join him on his trip.
- Although around 28,000 women applied to compete, the matchmaking plan was scrapped following public backlash. Maezawa revised his call and will invite eight people instead.
Featured Image via VideoFromSpace