Japanese billionaire returns to Earth from space trip
Tokyo, Dec 20: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa returned to Earth on Monday after spending 12 days on board the International Space Station, Russia's space agency Roscosmos said.
Maezawa is a fashion tycoon who sold his online fashion business Zozo to SoftBank in 2019. Forbes estimates his worth as $1.9 (€1.69) billion.
What was the trip like?
Maezawa parachuted onto Kazakhstan's steppe at around the planned time of 0313 GMT, along with his assistant and film producer Yozo Hirano, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
The landing site was located 150 kilometers southeast of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan, where there was precipitation and sub-zero temperatures.
さっき千葉の上を通ったよ！— 前澤友作┃いま宇宙にいるよ (@yousuck2020) December 18, 2021
Maezawa made the trip in a Russian 'Soyuz' spacecraft and became the first space tourist to travel to the International Space Station in more than a decade.
The entrepreneur made a variety of posts on social media from his trip, including photos from space of his home prefecture of Chiba, and videos showing how to make tea in zero gravity and discussing his shortage of fresh underwear.
What did Maezawa say about the trip?
In a live interview from the orbiting space station, Maezawa said that "once you are in space, you realize how much it is worth it by having this amazing experience."
When asked about claims that he had paid more than $80 million (€71 million) for the trip, Maezawa said he couldn't disclose the exact sum but admitted that he paid "pretty much" that much.
Maezawa is currently searching for eight people to join him on a trip to the moon in 2023. Applicants are required to pass medical tests and an interview.