The crew will be able to ‘open the hatch and go to the space station’ in a matter of hours
a Japani The billionaire and his creator stepped into space on Wednesday and arrived at the International Space Station several hours later, the first visit to an orbiting outpost by self-paying space tourists in more than a decade.
Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yojo Hirano, who plan to film their mission, departed for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
The trio took off at 12:38 p.m. (0738 GMT) on a Soyuz MS-20 from the Baikonur launch facility leased by Russia in Kazakhstan, and successfully landed on the orbiting post about six hours later.
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In several more hours, the crew will be able to open the hatch and go from the Soyuz to the space station.
Maezawa and Hirano are about to spend 12 days in space. Both are the first self-paid tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip has not been disclosed.
“I want to see Earth from space. I want 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 space will change me, how I’ll change after this space flight.”
A company that organized the flight said that Maezawa prepared a list of 100 things to do in space after asking the public for ideas. The list includes “simple things about daily life, perhaps some other fun activities, and more serious questions as well,” said Space Adventures president Tom Shelley.
“The intention is to try to share the experience of being in space with the general public,” Shelley told the Associated Press earlier this year.
Maezawa made his fortune in retail fashion, launching Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. Forbes magazine has estimated his net worth at $2 billion.
The tycoon has also booked a flyby around the Moon on Elon Musk’s starship which is potentially scheduled in the next few years. He will be joined by eight competition winners on that journey.