Russia To Send Billionaire Maezawa, Film Crew To ISS
Faizan Hashmi 1 month ago Thu 13th May 2021 | 06:50 PM
Moscow, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th May, 2021 ) :Russia announced plans Thursday to take Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to the International Space Station (ISS) in December, in a bid to resurrect its space tourism programme in face of US competition.
The Roscosmos space agency said Maezawa would make the flight from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with production assistant Yozo Hirano aboard a Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft that is scheduled for December 8.
The eccentric billionaire has previously announced plans to take eight people with him on a 2023 mission around the moon aboard a Starship spacecraft built by SpaceX, the Roscosmos rival of US billionaire Elon Musk.
Maezawa and film producer Hirano will begin approximately three months of pre-flight training in June at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, a closed city outside of Moscow, Roscosmos added.
They have already passed the required medical examinations, it said.
Roscosmos said the flight will last 12 days and the crew will be led by Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who has already been on two expeditions to the ISS.
His flight will also be the first time that two of the three spots on a Soyuz space rocket will be occupied by tourists.
It has cooperated with Roscosmos since the first space tourist flight in 2001.
The film, whose working title is "Challenge" is being co-produced by the flamboyant head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, and state-run network Channel One.
Maezawa will be the first space tourist to travel to the ISS since 2009 when Canadian Guy Laliberte, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, traveled to the station.
The resumption of tourist flights comes after Roscosmos lost its monopoly for ferrying crews to the ISS when a reusable SpaceX rocket last year successfully delivered NASA astronauts to space.
They boasted the first manned flight to space by Gagarin on April 12, 1961, the first spacewalk four years later by Alexei Leonov and the first lunar probe in 1966. But the United States beat them to the moon with the first manned landing in 1969.