Japanese billionaire prepares for December space mission

MOSCOW (AP) – An upcoming space flight by a Japanese billionaire will give the public a closer look at life aboard the International Space Station, said on Friday the president of Space Adventures, the company that organized the flight.

Fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa will take to space on December 8 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with producer Yozo Hirano, who will be filming his mission, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures, said Maezawa compiled a list of 100 things to do in space during a 12-day mission after asking the audience for ideas.

“His intention is to try and share the experience of what it means to be in space with the general public,” Shelley said in an interview with The Associated Press, adding that he would include “simple things about the everyday life to maybe other entertainment “. activities, to more serious matters too.

Maezawa made his fortune in fashion retail, launching Japan’s largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. His net worth is currently estimated at $ 2 billion by Forbes magazine.

“I’m so curious, ‘What is life in space like? “So, I plan to find out for myself and share with the world,” Maezawa said in a statement earlier this year.

He and his film producer will be the first paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip has not been disclosed.

Space Adventures, a Virginia-based company, has already sent seven other tourists to the space station, from 2001 to 2009.

Maezawa has also booked an overflight around the moon aboard Elon Musk’s spacecraft which is tentatively scheduled for 2023. He will be joined by eight contest winners.

Maezawa, who prepared for the flight to Russian space facilities with his teammates, told Thursday’s press conference that he was especially thrilled with the training which mimicked weightlessness in orbit.

He said the space suit training for emergencies on the station was physically very demanding but interesting.

Maezawa noted that his list of 100 things to do while aboard the International Space Station would include playing badminton in orbit with his Russian teammate Misurkin.

Currently on the station, Russian actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko are making the world’s first film in orbit, a project the Kremlin says will help restore the nation’s image.

Peresild and Shipenko climbed into orbit in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on October 5 for a 12-day stay at the station to film segments of the film titled “Challenge,” in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to rescue a crew member who needs an urgent operation in orbit.

Peresild and Shipenko are expected to return to Earth on Sunday with another Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Novitskiy, who will also play the sick cosmonaut in the film.

In another potential first, Shelley said Space Adventures has an agreement with Russian partners for two private clients to fly to the station in late 2023 or early 2024, in which one of them will take an outing in the ‘space.

He said the company is currently in talks with a number of potential clients and hopes to confirm this assignment in the coming months.

“It’s never been done before,” Shelley told the AP. “It’s something that has fascinated us a lot for several years. “


Mitia Osipov in Moscow contributed to this report.

Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press

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