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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa blasts off to International Space Station

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa blasted off on a trip to the International Space Station (ISS), joining the growing list of billionaires who have made it to space.

He plans to carry out 100 tasks in space, including playing golf.

Mr Maezawa made his fortune through e-commerce companies including Zozotown.




He was once a drummer in a punk rock band, and last year launched a show in search of a new girlfriend to join him in space, but later cancelled it.

A Russian rocket carrying Mr Maezawa took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

He is expected to spend 12 days at the ISS, and is the first space tourist to visit the station in recent years.



It is a precursor to Mr Maezawa’s much-publicised trip to the Moon in 2023.

Wednesday’s launch saw Mr Maezawa accompanied by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and video producer Yozo Hirano, who is documenting the voyage for the billionaire’s YouTube channel.

Mr Maezawa underwent a rigorous training programme prior to the launch, which included sleeping on an inclined bed, being spun around in a chair and playing long periods of badminton all of which he has documented on social media.

In an earlier press conference Mr Maezawa said the trip was a “dream come true”.

Mr Maezawa’s voyage, which is reportedly costing him $88 million, follows fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos’ short journey to space and Richard Branson’s trip to the edge of space earlier this year, in rockets built by their private companies.

The Japanese entrepreneur is known for his eclectic background. The former drummer of a punk rock band founded a company called Start Today in 1998 selling rare CDs and records.

He later pivoted to fashion with e-retailer Zozotown in 2004, and became a billionaire by the time he was in his mid-30s.

Forbes magazine lists him as Japan’s 30th richest man, with an estimated personal wealth of $1.9 billion.