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Moscow (AP) — Japanese billionaire and his producer soared into space on Wednesday as the first self-paying space traveler in more than a decade.
Fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who will be filming his mission, exploded to the International Space Station on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Russian astronaut Alexander Misserkin.
The trio took off on schedule at 12:38 pm (Greenwich Mean Time 0738) on the Soyuz MS-20 from the Russian-led Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.
Maezawa and Hirano are planning a 12-day stay in space. The two will be the first out-of-pocket tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip has not been disclosed.
“I want to see the Earth from space. I want to experience the opportunity to feel weightlessness,” Maezawa said at a press conference on Tuesday. “And I also have personal expectations. I’m curious about how space will change me and how I will change after this space flight.”
The company that organized the flight said Maezawa had put together a list of 100 things to do in space after asking the general public for ideas. “From simple things about everyday life to other fun activities to even more serious questions,” said Tom Sherry, President of Space Adventures.
“His intention is to share the experience of being in space with the general public,” Sherry told The Associated Press earlier this year.
Maezawa made a fortune in retail fashion and launched Zozotown, Japan’s largest online fashion mall. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $ 2 billion.
The tycoon also booked a flyby around the moon on a tentatively scheduled Elon Musk starship in 2023. He will be attended by eight contest winners on that trip.
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Japanese tycoon departs for the International Space Station | WGN Radio 720
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