The Soyuz-2.1a rocket, which carried the MS-20 mission capsule into orbit, took off at 8.38 Polish time. The mooring at the ISS was completed successfully before 15.00.
The mission, which started on Wednesday, included two private participants – fashion magnate Yusaku Maezawa and accompanying media producer Yozo Hirano. Both were financed by Maezawa from his own funds. Hirano was tasked with filming the journey. In turn, the cosmonaut who accompanied the Japanese, Alexander Misurkin, decided to play the role of a correspondent for the Russian news agency TASS.
The three-man MS-20 expedition team will spend 12 days in space. “I would like to look at the Earth from outer space. I would like to experience a feeling of weightlessness. I also have personal expectations: I am curious how the cosmos can change me, how I will change after this space flight,” Maezawa confessed on Tuesday at the press conference in Baikonur.
Space Adventures, which organizes the flight, said Maezawa had written a list of 100 things to do in space. The list includes simple daily activities as well as more entertaining or serious tasks to be performed. Space Adventures boss Tom Shelley also said Maezawa’s intention is to share the space experience with the public.
In such an international team the Japanese tourists and their commander, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will stay onboard the International Space Station until December 20. pic.twitter.com/0bQCVHwUb2
– ROSCOSMOS (@roscosmos) December 8, 2021
The Russian TASS agency said Misurkin would regularly provide news about life and work at the station, as well as share photos and videos.
The current expedition to the ISS is not to be the last of the Japanese billionaire’s cosmic adventures. In 2023, he wants to go on a trip around the moon aboard the Starship, owned by the company of American entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk. In this next expedition, he may be accompanied by 7 people, who are to be selected in the course of the competition.
Maezawa, 46, made his fortune in Zozotown, Japan’s largest online clothing store. Forbes magazine estimates his fortune at $ 2 billion.