Japanese Crew Members Return from Mission to Space Station

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa returned to earth on Monday (December 20) after a 12-day journey into space, a voyage he said he saw as a dry run for his planned trip around the moon with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2023.

The 46-year-old fashion magnate and art collector, who successfully launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 8 along with his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, landed as scheduled in a different location on the Kazakh steppe.

Maezawa, a space enthusiast, made the trip in a Soyuz spacecraft and became the first space tourist to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in more than a decade. Maezawa will become the first private passenger on the SpaceX moon trip in 2023, as commercial firms including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin usher in a new age of space travel for wealthy clients. The billionaire, who sold his online fashion business Zozo to SoftBank in 2019, is searching for eight people who will join him in his moon voyage in 2023, requiring applicants to pass medical tests and an interview.

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