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Japanese Billionaire Blasts Off to International Space Station

Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese entrepreneur, has launched a mission to the International Space Station (ISS), joining a growing list of millionaires who have traveled to space.

Mr Maezawa was sent into space by a Russian rocket from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.

He is the first space tourist to visit the ISS in recent years and is set to stay for 12 days.

It’s a warm-up for Mr Maezawa’s highly anticipated mission to the Moon in 2023.

Mr Maezawa was joined during the launch by Russian astronaut Alexander Misurkin and film producer Yozo Hirano, who will be chronicling the journey for the billionaire’s YouTube channel.

Prior to the launch, Mr Maezawa went through a tough training regimen that included sleeping on an inclined bed, spinning in a chair, and playing lengthy periods of badminton, all of which he chronicled on social media.

Mr Maezawa had previously stated that the trip was a “dream come true” in a press briefing.

“By seeing that a simple guy like me can walk into such an unfamiliar environment, people may have aspirations and ambitions,” the millionaire remarked.

He has vowed to do 100 tasks while aboard the International Space Station, chosen from a list of public requests.

It includes the predictable, such as introducing his fellow astronauts and showing viewers what life is like on the International Space Station, as well as the more unusual, such as golfing, blowing bubbles, and launching a paper aeroplane.

Mr Maezawa’s excursion, which is expected to cost him $88 million (£66 million), comes after fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos’ and Richard Branson’s trips to the edge of space aboard rockets created by their own firms earlier this year.

Mr Maezawa is the first self-funded space tourist to visit the International Orbit Station in more than a decade, having traveled to space on a Russian Soyuz rocket on Wednesday.

For many years, the only method to go to the ISS was to take a Soyuz spacecraft, and Russia has a history of sending space tourists to the station, notably US millionaire Dennis Tito, who was the first non-astronaut to fly into space in the 2000s.

In 2010, it put a stop to its private space program.

However, as the concept of space tourism gains traction, thanks in part to businesses like SpaceX, it has resumed permitting paying clients like Mr Maezawa to fly on its launches.

In October, Russia brought film director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild to the station to shoot sequences for a forthcoming film.

Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper is a global reporter for TheOptic, focusing on bringing insights and developments for global breaking news daily. With almost seven years of experience covering topics from all over the world, Brian strives to make sure you stay up-to-date with what's going on in the world.
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