Spacemen in the making

Space flight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano and back-up participant Shun Ogiso performing a zero-gravity flight last month while training ahead of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) in the Moscow region, Russia.

Mr Maezawa, a 45-year-old billionaire entrepreneur and art collector, and Mr Hirano, 36, his production assistant who will document the flight, will be led by Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, 44, on the mission scheduled for Dec 8.

It will be the first time Russian space agency Roscosmos has taken a tourist to the ISS since 2009.

Mr Maezawa made headlines in 2018 when he was announced as the first man to book a spot aboard a lunar spaceship being developed by Roscosmos rival SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon Musk.

The Japanese tycoon made his fortune as the founder of online fashion store Zozo, which he sold to Yahoo! Japan in 2019.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2021, with the headline 'Spacemen in the making'. Subscribe