Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa became the first space tourist to travel to the International Space Station in more than a decade when he blasted off into space on Wednesday, per Reuters.
- This self-funded journey is set to dock with the ISS around 6:41 a.m MST. Maezawa will be accompanied by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who will command the ship, and Maezawa’s production assistant Yozo Hirano, who will capture footage of the trip according to a statement by Space Adventures, the company behind the space mission.
- “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,” said Maezawa.
- Maezawa has been training for the journey for months. He has become a household name in Japan for his private plans, celebrity girlfriends and cash giveaways to Twitter followers, according to Reuters.
Such space tourism has happened before — eight times to be exact, all in the 2000s, according to CNN.
The program hit a pause when NASA’s Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft became the only option to transport any astronaut to the ISS.
Now, Elon Musk SpaceX has stepped up to provide additional transportation. The space tourism industry is booming with more trips to space, the recent ones being Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.