Japanese billionaire returns to Earth after 12 days in space

The vacation aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is over for Yusaku Maezawa. The whimsical Japanese billionaire returned to Earth on Monday after spending 12 days in space. The 46-year-old online fashion heavyweight, his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Missurkin, landed around 03:13 GMT on the steppe of Kazakhstan with the “tourist” spacecraft Soyuz MS-20.

“The crew is feeling good,” said a NASA TV commentator, translating comments from the Russian mission control. According to the press service of the Central Military District, they were to be greeted on arrival with a “surprise” dish of noodles from Japan.

“Peeing is very easy”

Yusaku Maezawa had set himself a list of a hundred tasks to accomplish in space during his stay. His assistant made videos on daily life in orbit for the Japanese billionaire’s YouTube account. We can see the man explaining in detail to his million followers how to brush his teeth or even go to the toilet in zero gravity.

“Peeing is very easy,” he says in one of the videos, showing the tool astronauts use to suck urine. In another, he makes himself a tea without sugar and praises the tasty cookies of the ISS.

A first for the Japanese, a big comeback for the Russians

Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant are the first Japanese tourists to space since 1990, when a journalist stayed aboard the Soviet Mir station.

The trip marks Russia’s return to space tourism after a decade-long hiatus. This sector, in which Russia has lost ground to private American companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is experiencing renewed interest and constitutes a potential financial windfall.

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