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Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Embarks on Space Journey

Credit: Unsplash

Recently, there has been a surge in space activities with billionaires and celebrities venturing into space for short stays or visits to the International Space Station (ISS). While many of these flights have been associated with Western space agencies like NASA, SpaceX, and Blue Origin, Japan has now joined the space tourism trend.

This morning, the Russian space agency Roscosmos, in partnership with the US company Space Adventures, launched a mission from the Baikonur cosmodrome to the ISS. Japanese fashion mogul and space enthusiast Yusaku Maezawa, along with his production assistant Yozo Hirano, are part of this venture. They will spend a couple of weeks at the station with the current seven-person crew, engaging in various activities and experiments for Maezawa’s personal YouTube channel. Maezawa has a list of over 100 activities planned, including a zero-gravity badminton tournament.

“It’s been 12 years. We’ve had to be very patient. We’ve had to be very creative. So, this is the culmination of a lot of effort from a lot of different people,” said Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures, in an interview with AFP.

Despite the hiatus in launches since 2009, Roscosmos has been proactive, gearing up for more space tourism missions after the success of recent launches. Dmitry Rogozin, the director of Roscosmos, emphasized their commitment to compete in the space tourism market: “We will not give this niche to the Americans. We are ready to fight for it.”

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