Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the first self-paying space tourist, has blasted off on a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) as a prelude for a planned SpaceX trip to the moon.
The fashion tycoon and art collector successfully launched from a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan with his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin for a 12-day trip in the ISS.
The founder of online clothing retailer Zozo Inc. is Japan’s first space tourist and the first tourist on the ISS in over a decade. The trip with his assistant is estimated to cost more than $88 million by local media, but the official figures have not been disclosed.
Along with a list of 100 tasks to do in space, Maezawa plans to give away cash handouts totaling more than $27 million while in the ISS via an app.
The trip is part of NASA’s effort to turn the ISS into a commercial orbiter for tourists by 2030. It also serves as a dry run for Maezawa to join a planned trip to the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2023.
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