20 December 2021 Industry News

Japanese space tourists land safely on Earth after 12 days on ISS

Yusaku Maezawa, his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin parachuted onto Kazakhstan's steppe at approximately 03:13 GMT 20 December, after spending 12 days on board the ISS.
Yusaku Maezawa, his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin parachuted onto Kazakhstan's steppe at approximately 03:13 GMT 20 December, after spending 12 days on board the ISS.

A Japanese billionaire returned to Earth Monday, after 12 days spent on the International Space Station where he made videos about performing mundane tasks in space including brushing teeth and going to the bathroom.

Online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano parachuted onto Kazakhstan's steppe at around the expected landing time of 0313 GMT Monday, along with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

Footage from the landing site, around 150 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of the central Kazakhstan town of Zhezkazgan, showed the trio smiling after being helped out of the Soyuz descent module and into evacuation vehicles in freezing, foggy conditions.

"The crew is feeling good," a commentator on NASA TV said, translating comments from Russian mission control.

Russia's defence ministry had said on Sunday that Maezawa and Hirano were set to be surprised by recovery crews with a traditional Japanese noodle dish.

Their journey marked Russia's return to space tourism after a decade-long pause that saw the rise of competition from the United States.

The trio spent 12 days on the orbiting laboratory where the Japanese tourists documented their daily life aboard the ISS for Maezawa's popular YouTube channel.

Addressing his one million followers on YouTube, the 46-year-old billionaire explained how to brush teeth and go to the bathroom in space.

In one of the videos, he explained in detail the business of relieving oneself on the ISS.

"Peeing is very easy," he said as he demonstrated a handheld funnel astronauts use to suck their urine away.

In other videos, he showed his followers how to properly drink tea and sleep in zero gravity.

When the three space travellers arrived on the ISS on December 8, they joined a seven-team crew who were engaged in space biology and physics research.

Maezawa plans to take eight people with him on a 2023 mission around the moon, operated by Elon Musk's SpaceX.

He and his assistant are the first private Japanese citizens to visit space since journalist Toyohiro Akiyama travelled to the Mir station in 1990.

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