Maezawa to Become 1st Non-astronaut Japanese Space Traveler in Dec.

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, May 13 (Jiji Press)--Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said Thursday that he will visit the International Space Station in December, becoming the first non-astronaut Japanese space traveler.

Maezawa, 45, the founder of online fashion mall operator Zozo Inc. <3092>, will travel to the ISS on a three-seater Russian Soyuz spacecraft, together with Yozo Hirano, 35, an executive of a Maezawa-related firm, and a Russian astronaut.

The ISS trip will precede his journey to the moon expected for 2023. In 2018, he was chosen as one of the first passengers of a moon flight by U.S. aerospace firm SpaceX.

Maezawa has a contract with U.S. space travel firm Space Adventures, which offers space trips using Soyuz. He will receive training for the ISS flight, including in Russia, from mid-June. He has already passed pre-training tests.

The Soyuz spaceship carrying Maezawa and the two others is scheduled to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 8. After staying in the ISS for about 12 days, they will return to Earth, landing on the steppe in the same country.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press