CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — The International Space Station will be tested first by the Japanese tycoon who has booked a SpaceX flight to the moon.
Maezawa has purchased two seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. In December, he and his development assistant, as well as a trained cosmonaut, will launch on a 12-day mission.
“I’m fascinated by the question, ‘What is it like in space?’ As a result, I want to find out on my own and share my findings with the rest of the world,” Maezawa said in a tweet.
According to Virginia-based Space Adventures, which brokered the contract, he’ll be the first human to pay his own ticket to the space station in more than a decade. A spokeswoman for Space Adventures declined to reveal the price. From 2001 to 2009, the corporation sent seven more passengers to the space station.
Yozo Hirano, a photographer, and Maezawa’s assistant will accompany the 45-year-old, who established an online retail clothing firm. Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who has spent almost a year aboard the space station on two different flights, will accompany them. Kazakhstan will launch the satellite on December 8th.
The news on Thursday came in the midst of a whirlwind of private space projects.
The first private mission to the space station from the United States will launch in January, with three businessmen from the United States, Canada, and Israel each contributing $55 million. They’ll take off from Kennedy Space Center in a SpaceX Dragon capsule, followed by a former NASA astronaut who now works for Houston-based Axiom Space, which negotiated the contract. A total of two private flights to the space station are planned each year by the corporation.
SpaceX would launch its first private spaceflight with four people on board before the space station visits, including tech pioneer Jared Isaacman, who bought the mission. In September, they will spend three days orbiting the Earth.
NASA’s head of commercial spaceflight, Phil McAlister, told reporters Monday that “this really is a renaissance in US human spaceflight.” “I believe that’s the best way to describe what we’re going through.”