The capsule will trip into orbit atop a Soyuz rocket after launching from Russia’s Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:38 am ET Wednesday. It’s slated to dock with the ISS about six hours later, at 8:41 am ET.

Joining Maezawa on his 12-day journey aboard the ISS will likely be veteran Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who will command the mission, and Maezawa’s manufacturing assistant, videographer Yozo Hirano, who will seize footage of the style mogul as he floats across the orbiting space station.

“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 mentioned in a latest statement.

This mission exemplifies the drastic shift the worldwide space business has taken previously decade. Such space tourism missions have occurred earlier than — particularly eight related missions for rich thrill seekers launched to the ISS within the 2000s, all organized aboard Soyuz capsules by US-based firm Space Adventures. But such missions took a hiatus after NASA’s Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, leaving Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft as the one possibility for transporting even skilled astronauts to the ISS.

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But now, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has stepped in to present further transportation to the space station for US astronauts, releasing up space for vacationers. And the broader space tourism sector is booming. Recent journeys to space for rich adventurers have included a charity fundraising journey for 4 vacationers aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule in September, and a number of other journeys to space — together with by billionaire space firm founders Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — on temporary, suborbital rocket rides that brushed the sting of space.
The ISS has already welcomed a pair spaceflight novices this yr. A Russian actress and director spent 12 days on the space station in October to movie a part of a film in a historic first.
You may acknowledge Maezawa’s identify, as he first grabbed worldwide headlines in 2018 by announcing separate plans to hitch a ride on a forthcoming SpaceX spacecraft, called Starship, to the moon as soon as 2023, alongside eight artists of Maezawa’s choosing. Those plans are nonetheless within the works, however he apparently opted to get his ft metaphorically moist within the space journey milieu by reserving this mission to the ISS as nicely, which orbits only a couple hundred miles above Earth.
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It’s not clear how a lot Maezawa, who made his fortune with the Japanese e-commerce web site Zozotown, paid for the mission. Space Adventures, which deliberate Maezawa’s flight in addition to the ISS tourism flights of the 2000s, declined to share a determine. Previous Space Adventures flights to the ISS have price vacationers between $20 million and $40 million, Tom Shelley, the corporate’s president, acknowledged in an interview with NCS Business.

But he added that present market costs are extra within the $50 million to $60 million vary.

“It’s certainly within the the high tens of millions of dollars,” Shelley mentioned.

Shelley additionally famous that after a protracted hiatus, Space Adventures has seen a drastic change in public consciousness of spaceflight alternatives.

“When we were doing this 10, 15 years ago … many people were just not aware that flying to space as a private citizen was possible,” he mentioned. “But now — come 2021 — there really is a heightened awareness within the market, and so the discussion is different.”

Maezawa and Hirano, each spaceflight novices, had to enter a three-month coaching routine for his or her flight, and Maezawa shared snippets of his not-always-pleasant experiences on social media.

But the coaching was much less intense than among the earliest missions, Shelley mentioned.

“When [millionaire] Dennis Tito flew back in 2001, his coaching was fairly lengthy. I feel it was six months or extra, as a result of no person had actually carried out it earlier than,” he mentioned. “Over the years, we’ve been able to trim some of the fat out of the training requirements.”

Maezawa, Hirano and Misurkin will return from the ISS on December 19, flying on the identical Soyuz capsule as the primary leg of their journey. If all goes in accordance to plan, they’re going to parachute to a touchdown in a distant space of Kazakhstan, as is commonplace process for a Soyuz flight.