New Delhi: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa returned safely to Earth today aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for 12 days.
On Monday, around 0313 GMT (8:43 am IST), online fashion tycoon Maezawa, his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin landed in Kazakhstan, news agency AFP reported.
Roscosmos said in a statement on its website that the flight of the “tourist” spacecraft “Soyuz MS-20” has been completed. The Russian space agency did not specify an exact time for the landing.
The Soyuz MS-20 is an important mission for Russia as it marked the country’s return to space tourism after a decade-long break. During that period, there was increased competition from the US.
activities in space
Maezawa, Hirano and Misurkin spent 12 days in the orbiting laboratory. Videos documenting the daily lives of Japanese tourists aboard the space station have been uploaded to Maezawa’s YouTube channel.
In the video, Maezawa tells people on Earth how to brush their teeth and go to the washroom in space. He also told in a video how people relieve themselves on the space station.
“It’s a lot easier to pee,” Maezawa said, demonstrating a handheld funnel used by astronauts to suck up their urine.
In other videos, he showed how to drink tea properly and sleep in zero gravity.
About a day after the launch of the Soyuz MS-20 mission on December 8, the trio docked at the ISS, joining the Expedition 66 crew members.
According to reports, Maezawa intends to take eight people with him on a mission around the Moon in 2023. The mission will be operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Before Maezawa and his assistant, Japanese journalist Toyohiro Akiyama was the last private Japanese citizen to travel to space. He had traveled to Mir station in 1990.
The year 2021 has been a turning point for private space travel. The return of Japanese tourists to Earth marks the successful completion of yet another space tourism mission.
The mission was commanded by cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and was launched on a Soyuz MS-19 manned spacecraft to the ISS from Baikonur Spaceport. Peresild and Shipenko stayed on the ISS for 12 days to shoot scenes for a film, a joint project of Roscosmos, Channel One, and Yellow, Black and White film studios.
Roscosmos has already commissioned two Soyuz rockets for such trips and plans to continue its space tourism business.