Japan billionaire Maezawa to fulfill childhood dream with space flight

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Baikonur, Kazakhstan, December 7 – Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said he would temper his enthusiasm for a more ambitious trip around the Moon in 2023 with Elon Musk’s plans for a more ambitious trip to the International Space Station a day before the explosion. can stop.

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The 46-year-old fashion magnate and art collector has been training at a space center outside Moscow in recent months before becoming the first space tourist to visit the ISS in more than a decade.

Maezawa will travel aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, which will launch Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, accompanied by his assistant Yozo Hirano, who will document the trip, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

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Speaking from Baikonur ahead of his 12-day space journey, Mezwa said that flying in space was a childhood dream.

“I’m excited. I feel like an elementary school student is going to hang out,” Maezawa said at a news conference. “I didn’t think I’d be able to go to space. I loved the starry sky and heavenly bodies. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity and finally fulfill my dream.”

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With plans to post to and from space, the billionaire is chronicling his preparations in social media posts, including showcasing his space suit and riding the centrifuge.

Space flight participant Yozo Hirano waving behind a glass wall during a press conference in Baikonur on December 7, 2021.
Pool / AFP via Getty Images

During his 100 days of training, Maezawa said he had enjoyed parabolic flight, where weightlessness is induced for short periods on an adapted aircraft, but found training in a spinning chair difficult.

The entrepreneur, dressed in a blue flight suit with a “world peace” badge, said he had struggled to learn Russian to communicate with his instructors and looked forward to eating sushi when he returned to Earth.

Commercial firms, including Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, have ushered in a new era of space travel for wealthy clients.

Zozo, the billionaire who sold his online fashion business to SoftBank in 2019, is looking for eight people who will join him on his moon journey in 2023, which will require applicants to pass medical tests and an interview.

Maezawa has become a household name in Japan, known for its conformist, corporate culture, thanks to private jets and supercars, cash gifts to Twitter followers and celebrity girlfriends.

Maezawa will be the first Japanese private citizen to go into space since TV journalist Toyohiro Akiyama visited the Mir space station in 1990.

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