On Wednesday, a Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, soared into space making history as the first self-funded tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in a decade. The Russian-built Soyuz capsule and rocket took off from Russia’s Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a six-hour journey to the ISS.
“I’m so curious ‘what’s life like in space’? So, I am planning to find out on my own and share with the world on my YouTube channel.”– Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa
Two other men were onboard to join Maezawa on his 12-day journey: veteran Russian cosmonaut, Alexander Misurkin, and Maezawa’s production assistant and videographer, Yozo Hirano.
On Twitter, Maezawa’s bio currently reads “First civilian to fly around the moon on @SpaceX’s Starship in 2023 @dearMoonProject, and go to the ISS on Soyuz in Dec 8th 2021. Japanese account @yousuck2020.”
The Japanese billionaire did not disclose how much he paid for the mission, neither did anyone involved in the planning process. However, the company’s president, Tom Shelley, told CNN Business that Space Adventures trips to the ISS in the past have cost tourists somewhere between USD20 and 40 million. He noted that current market prices have pushed these figures somewhere between USD50 to 60 million
Shelley explained the shift saying “When we were doing this 10, 15 years ago … many people were just not aware that flying to space as a private citizen was possible.” He continued, “But now — come 2021 — there really is a heightened awareness within the market, and so the discussion is different.”
Maezawa and Hirano completed a three-month training regimen prior to their trip, of which Maezawa shared videos and picture on Twitter.
According to Shelley, space training used to be much more intense in the past. “When [millionaire] Dennis Tito flew back in 2001, his training was quite long. I think it was six months or more, because nobody had really done it before,” he said.
“Over the years, we’ve been able to trim some of the fat out of the training requirements.”– Space Adventures President, Tom Shelley
About Space Tourism
Eight similar space tourism missions have happened in the past, all in the 2000s and aboard Soyuz capsules by the US-based company Space Adventures. But
After NASA’s Space Shuttle program retired ten years ago, Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft was the only option left for transportation to the ISS until Elon Musk’s SpaceX came into the picture. SpaceX provides access to those interested in touring outer space, a sector which is currently booming.
The most recent trips to space included a charity fundraising mission with four tourists onboard a Dragon capsule by SpaceX back in September, and sevespace. Among the tourists were space company founders Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.
Source and Photo Credit: CNN