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Japanese billionaire docks at International Space Station – DW (English)

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Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant lifted off on a Russian rocket en route for the International Space Station. The launch also marks Russia’s return to space tourism after a 12-year pause.

Fashion tycoon, art collector and now space tourist — Yusaku Maezawa waves before setting off for the ISS
A Russian rocket carrying Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa set off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, arriving safely and on schedule a few hours later.
Accompanying Maezawa on his trip to space were his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
Prior to setting off from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, 46-year-old Maezawa tweeted that the journey was a “dream come true.”
On their way to the launch pad, the three men were played a Soviet-era song that is traditionally played for cosmonauts before their flights. This time, however, parts of the song were sung in Japanese.
Maezawa’s assistant, Yozo Hirano (left), is joining the billionaire to document his 12 days in space
After a six-hour ride on a Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft, the three-person crew successfully docked at the Poisk module at the ISS.
Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov welcomed the travelers to the ISS, saying that “we have already prepared dinner” and await their arrival on board when the hatches open.
Upon entering the station, the three will then spend 12 days on the station, with Maezawa set to share his experiences on his YouTube channel — all of which will be documented by his assistant Hirano.
Maezawa, an online fashion tycoon and art collector, said he wants to accomplish 100 tasks while onboard — including a badminton tournament.
An international crew of seven people is currently orbiting the Earth on the ISS, including a German astronaut, a Japanese astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts.
Dennis Tito was and always will be the first civilian to travel to space. Tito had been a NASA engineer before turning to finance. He had always dreamed of a trip to space and is said to have paid $20 million to have his dream come true. It was hard convincing the big space agencies, but on April 28, 2001, Tito took a ride on a Soyuz rocket and spent six days at the International Space Station.
So, the name’s fitting — shuttle-worth. But beyond that you’ll quickly see a bias emerge. The first space tourists were all nerdy engineers… and all but one were MEN. South African Mark Shuttleworth, an internet and software engineer, flew a year after Tito and is celebrated as the first African in space. We’re still waiting for the first Black African to make it — not for want of trying, though.
There’s never been a Black African astronaut, neither agency-based nor a tourist. Mandla Maseko, a DJ from a township in Pretoria, South Africa, was due to be the first “Afronaut” until he died in a road accident at the age of 30. Maseko had won his chance through a private venture called Ace Apollo Space Academy. Seen as an inspirational figure, he said: “Defy gravity in everything that you do.”
The third “official” space tourist was millionaire scientist Gregory Olsen. As Tito and Shuttleworth before him, Olsen bought his ticket through a company called Space Adventures and flew on a Russian Soyuz rocket. Olsen sold his own company, Sensors Unlimited, which under new owners Collins Aerospace is a NASA contractor, to pay his way. And he says he’d sell another firm to do it all again.
So, it’s not only boys who dream of the stars. Anousheh Ansari dreamed of space as a child as well. An engineer, internet technologist and co-founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, Ansari spent 11 days in space in 2006. She is described as the first astronaut of Iranian descent and the first Muslim woman in space. Her foundation champions itself as having “ignited a new era for commercial spaceflight.”
In 1991, Helen Sharman became the UK’s first astronaut. Sharman conducted scientific experiments on the Soviet/Russian space station Mir, so hers was a mission in the traditional sense. We’re including Sharman because her mission started as a commercial venture, but the company failed. The Soviets, whose idea it was anyway, paid in an act of bettering relations between them and the West.
Charles Simonyi is the first space tourist to have taken two trips. The billionaire software engineer first flew in 2007 and then again in 2009. But Simonyi holds other records, too. At the age of 13, he was selected as a junior astronaut in his native Hungary, and he developed the world’s first WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) text editor, Bravo. He thinks humans will live in space one day.
British-American Richard Garriott (left) had an early interest in space travel due to the fact that his dad, Owen, was a NASA astronaut. Family friends and neighbors were astronauts, too. But he became a computer games developer and that’s how he paid for his trip in 2008 — but he was also an investor in the space tourism company, Space Adventures. He’s known to dress up as a medieval knight.
A native of Quebec, Guy Laliberte is the original creative mind behind the world-famous circus company, Cirque du Soleil (“Circus of the Sun”). He spent 10 days at the International Space Station in 2009 and is the last of the old-school space tourists. Following Laliberte’s trip, no tourists flew for over a decade. This shot of a Soyuz capsule returning to Earth was almost the end of it. Until…
Boys and their toys: Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson just had to pip Amazon-man Jeff Bezos at the post. His reward? The US Federal Aviation Administration grounded Branson’s SpaceShipTwo for deviating from its flight path as it descended from the edge of space on July 11, 2021. Got to hand it to Branson, though — he’s been at it for decades. SpaceShipOne won the Ansari XPRIZE in 2004.
Branson and Bezos (in hat) are competitors. They’re also in a private space travel clique with common goals and would get nowhere without each other — or early test pilots Brian Binnie and Mike Melvill and investors like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen or Peter Diamandis, co-founder of Space Adventures and XPRIZE. On July 20, 2021, Bezos and three others took a suborbital flight. Will you be next?
Author: Zulfikar Abbany
Maezawa is the latest in a series of wealthy men who have made commercial tourism flights to space this year — following fellow billionaires Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Maezawa is already planning his next trip to space — a mission to travel around the moon in 2023, which will be operated by Musk’s company, SpaceX.
rs/sms (dpa, AFP)
In 1975, astronauts Thomas Stafford and Deke Slayton were given “vodka tubes” during an Apollo/Soyuz linkup. Although labeled with Russian vodka brands, the tubes contained borscht (beet soup). Drinking alcohol is prohibited on the ISS — it’s main ingredient, ethanol, is a volatile compound that could damage equipment. Astronauts aren’t even allowed mouthwash or aftershave containing alcohol.
In 1967 the US counted its first space mission fatality after an astronaut died flying a spaceplane above 50 miles. Four Soviet Union cosmonauts died in spaceflight in 1967 and 1971. And in January 1986, the Challenger space shuttle blew up 73 seconds after takeoff, killing all seven crew members. Another seven died when the Columbia shuttle exploded upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere in 2003.
The original space toilet, designed in 2000, had astronauts use thigh straps to keep a tight seal between their bottoms and the toilet seat. But it didn’t work so well. In 2018, NASA spent $23 million on a new vacuum-style toilet that starts sucking as soon as they sit down. Most bathroom waste is burned, but pee is recycled into drinking water. They say: “Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee!”
In 1969, at the time of the Apollo 11 flight, Neil Armstrong was the highest paid of the three astronauts on the flight — earning $27,401, which in today’s terms is equivalent to about $209,122 (about €183,000). Today, NASA astronauts can earn between about $66,000 and $160,000, depending on their academic achievements and prior work experience.
Microgravity takes a toll on the human body. Fluid builds in up the head and about a liter of blood is shed. That’s part of the reason astronauts, like Marcos Pontes (above), often look paler upon their return to Earth. Although scientists aren’t entirely sure of space travel’s impact on long-term health, we do know that because of relativity, astronauts return to Earth a few milliseconds younger.
Sex in space is pretty different to here on Earth. Erections and arousal are possible, but without gravity, thrusting does become a challenge, which could be limiting — depending on your modus operandi. Has it been done before? Reports are unconfirmed, but it seems likely. In 1992, married couple Mark Lee and Jan Davis joined a NASA mission shortly after getting married — an outer space honeymoon?
Generally, a good night’s sleep requires you to be able to stay in bed for the duration of your shut-eye. That’s a little difficult in a microgravity environment — and that’s where Velcro comes in. Astronauts usually use sleeping bags in small crew cabins, attached to one of the walls so they don’t float around and bump into things. Here’s Matthias Maurer demonstrating before his Crew-3 mission.
The SpaceX Crew-3 mission took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 10 on a Crew Dragon spacecraft named Endurance, fixed on a Falcon 9 rocket. The crew are headed to the International Space Station, where they’ll do spacewalks to help upgrade the station’s solar panels, conduct research and try to grow plants without soil or other growth foundations.
Author: Charli Shield
The data gathered by the latest mission could “help us find out whether there is life elsewhere in our universe and if there is another planet like Earth,” the European Space Agency said.  
The actions of millions of people and policies of innumerable governments to protect the climate are being negated by selfish millionaires shooting themselves into space. Sonya Diehn has a proposal for Branson and Bezos.  
A crew of four astronauts finally launched from Cape Canaveral and are set to dock at the International Space Station after a delay of nearly two weeks. The crew includes German astronaut Mathias Maurer.  
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