Japanese billionaire Maezawa trains in Russia ahead of space trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa attends a press conference ahead of the expedition to the International Space Station, in Star City outside Moscow, on Oct 14, 2021.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa attends a press conference ahead of the expedition to the International Space Station, in Star City outside Moscow, on Oct 14, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - For Japanese fashion magnate Yusaku Maezawa, training in zero gravity ahead of his planned trip to space later this year was not always easy.

"I've been alive for 45 years and have not experienced anything like that. I felt awkward at first," he said via a translator at a news conference on Thursday (Oct 14), where he appeared alongside his assistant and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

"I couldn't control the movement of my arms and legs. But when I got used to it a little bit, it was very pleasant," he added at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow.

Mr Misurkin will accompany the space tourist during a 12-day-long trip on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which is expected to start on Dec 8.

Mr Maezawa plans to become the first Japanese space tourist to visit the International Space Station.

He said he was having to train for months before the flight, and that he did not feel fear or anxiety so far.

"Our inspiration is growing," he said.