‘Dream come true’: Japanese billionaire blasts off for ISS | Worldwide Area Station

A Japanese billionaire has fulfilled his childhood dream of travelling to house, as certainly one of two passengers onboard a Russian rocket that blasted off in direction of the Worldwide Area Station.

Yusaku Maezawa, the founding father of Zozo, a profitable on-line style enterprise, and his manufacturing assistant, Yozo Hirano, on Wednesday turned the primary house vacationers to journey to the ISS for greater than a decade.

However Maezawa, a famous artwork collector who reportedly has a web price of $1.9bn (£1.44bn), has stated his ambitions don’t finish there, having signed up for a extra bold journey across the moon on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket deliberate for 2023.

The Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (centre), Yusaku Maezawa (left) and Yozo Hirano (proper) earlier than the launch. {Photograph}: Roscosmos Press Service Handout/EPA

On launch day, Maezawa and his crew left their lodge in Baikonur to a Soviet-era music performed for all cosmonauts earlier than their flights. The music, about cosmonauts lacking residence, was sung partially in Japanese.

Maezawa’s household and associates – some holding Japanese flags – waved him off as he was pushed to get his spacesuit fitted.

“Dream come true,” the tycoon tweeted earlier than he and Hirano boarded a three-seat Soyuz spacecraft piloted by the Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin within the run-up to their launch from the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

“I’m excited,” he informed reporters on the eve of his 12-day journey. “I really feel like an elementary college pupil about to go on an outing. I didn’t assume I’d be capable to go to house. I used to love the starry sky and heavenly our bodies. I really feel lucky to have this chance and to lastly fulfil my dream.”

The 46-year-old used social media to chronicle the 100 days he spent making ready for the mission, saying he had loved the expertise of induced weightlessness on an tailored aircraft, however confessing that sitting in a spinning chair had been “like torture”.

He and Hirano, a movie producer, will doc day by day life on the house station, the place the entrepreneur will carry out 100 duties for the tycoon’s YouTube channel, which has greater than 750,000 subscribers.

Maezawa, who bought Zozo to SoftBank in 2019, will comply with his ISS mission by changing into the primary non-public passenger on the moon voyage aboard the SpaceX rocket.

He’s trying to find eight individuals who “see themselves as artists” – however who don’t essentially must be artists – to affix him on the six-day journey, which he can pay for himself. He has reportedly obtained greater than 1,000,000 functions since final yr.

Named by Forbes as Japan’s thirtieth richest individual, Maezawa is seen as one thing of a maverick in his native nation, the place he has made headlines along with his liking for personal jets, supercars and artworks.

He created a Twitter frenzy final yr when he stated he would give away ¥1m (£6,650) every to 1,000 of his 13.8 million followers as a “social experiment”. He deserted one other on-line contest looking for candidates to be his girlfriend however solely after attracting nearly 30,000 candidates.

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