He had become famous two years ago, when Elon Musk introduced him as the first space tourist destined for a trip to the Moon. Waiting for the great journey to the natural satellite of the Earth, when the Space X spacecraft will also be ready for “non-astronauts”, Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire with a passion for art, music and space, is in orbit since this morning. The carrier rocket Sojuz, after a perfect launch (at 8.38 am in Italy), took it into orbit, with destination the International Space Station, for a space trip (estimated cost around 40 million dollars, although never formalized), of about ten days, to carry out video and photographic services on the large orbital outpost the size of a stadium and weighing 420 tons.
A station resulting from international cooperation, and made up of pressurized space modules also built in Europe and Italy. In fact Maezawa, together with his travel companion, the faithful assistant Yozo Hiran, in addition to the basic training carried out in Moscow, made stops in Houston (NASA), at the home space agency (the Japanese Nasda), and the European one ( Esa). So much so that in Cologne, they were also prepared by a team from the Altec Space Center, which is based in Turin, and which has been training professional astronauts for years. And now, first in Europe, it also trains private astronauts or “Astro Tourists”.
Under the command of Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, the Soyuz MS 20 will dock the Space Station in the afternoon. Yusaku Maezawa, 46, is a world-renowned art collector who has become an e-commerce entrepreneur. Later, he became a musician. Yozo, 36, joined the ZOZO Group after graduating as head of management and casting director of the photography team. Leaving ZOZO, he became producer and manager for private projects of MZ, the Maezawa company.
The purpose of the mission of the two commercial astronauts is purely for tourism. On board the Station, Maezawa will film every moment of his stay in space, to then make a documentary. In charge of the shooting will be Yozo Hirano. In addition to this, all three participants of the Soyuz MS-20 mission will participate in the LAZMA biomedical test, organized by Oryol State University. The aim is to study the microcirculation of the blood, to favor new measures against cardiovascular diseases, which are particularly important after long stays in orbit. To carry out this research, the three astronauts will be equipped with laser sensors, both on Earth, both during the journey and in orbit. The Soyuz MS 20 carried 168 kg of supplies to the Space Station. It is in fact the last Russian capsule that will reach the station before Christmas. Inside there are therefore letters from relatives and gifts for cosmonauts Peter Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, already in orbit for weeks, as well as food supplies and scientific experiments.
Antonio Lo Campo