Japanese billionaire arrives at ISS on space tourism trip ahead of SpaceX lunar journey
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa arrives at the International Space Station on Dec. 8, 2021 after launching on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa arrived at the International Space Station on Wednesday, where he’ll spend nearly two weeks visiting as a private space tourist.
Maezawa launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft along with production assistant Yozo Hirano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. The Japanese entrepreneur booked the spaceflight through U.S. company Space Adventures, which has previously sent seven tourists to the space station on Russian vehicles.
“I am excited to share every aspect of my journey with everyone on Earth,” Maezawa said in a statement before the launch.
Notably, Maezawa’s ISS visit comes after he booked a trip to the moon with SpaceX, with his project called “dearMoon” that was announced in 2018. He plans to fly 10 to 12 people on SpaceX’s Starship rocket for a multi-day trip that would reach lunar orbit, with Maezawa saying he “will pay for the entire journey.”
SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Maezawa gave an update on the lunar Starship journey earlier this year, with the company’s schedule still targeting 2023. The dearMoon mission would take three days to fly to the moon, loop behind it in orbit, and then spend three days returning.
For now, Maezawa is in orbit around the Earth – where he will spend about 12 days on board the ISS before returning on Dec. 19.
Maezawa made his fortune after founding fashion retail company Zozotown, which he resigned from in 2019 after selling a majority stake to SoftBank.