The Russian space agency Roscosmos will be sending Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano to the International Space Station in December as a space tourist.
Roscosmos made the statement on Thursday saying that Maezawa and Hirano will be traveling aboard a Russian “Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft that is scheduled for launch on December 8, 2021, from the Baikonur cosmodrome” in Kazakhstan.
Maezawa is also participating in a mission around the moon aboard a Starship spacecraft of SpaceX, US billionaire Elon Musk’s space company and rival of Roscosmos, in 2023.
“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,” Maezawa said.
Hirano, which is also a film producer, will be documenting the mission together with Maezawa. The two will be conducting pre-flight training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City in June.
Maezawa will be the eighth self-funded individual to visit the space station and the first from Japan to become a space tourist.
Forbes magazine estimated space tourists payment between $20 and $35 million per person for 8-12 days in space. The cost of Maezawa’s flight has not been disclosed.