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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Space is the new billionaires playground – and they’re starting to head there in droves.

 

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Just six months after NASA announced it wants to turn the International Space Station (ISS) into one of the first space hotels, Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant, Yozo Hirano, will be the next tourists to travel to the ISS, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said Thursday.

 

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Maezawa and Hirano will travel aboard a Russian “Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft that is scheduled for launch on Dec. 8, 2021, from the Baikonur cosmodrome” in Kazakhstan, the agency said in a statement.

Maezawa, 45, who made his fortune in online retail, also plans to participate in a 2023 mission around the moon aboard a Starship spacecraft of SpaceX, the Roscosmos rival of US billionaire Elon Musk.

Maezawa and film producer Hirano, who will be documenting the mission, will begin pre-flight training in June at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, a closed town outside of Moscow, Roscosmos added.

 

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It said that the flight will last 12 days and the crew will be led by Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

“I’m so curious ‘what’s life like in space?’ So, I am planning to find out on my own and share with the world on my YouTube channel,” Maezawa said, as quoted by Roscosmos.

It will be the first time that two of the three spots on a Soyuz space rocket will be occupied by tourists.

The last time Roscosmos took a tourist to the ISS was in 2009, with the flight of Canadian Guy Laliberte, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil.

 

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The resumption of these tourist flights comes as Roscosmos lost its monopoly for ferrying crews to the ISS after a reusable SpaceX rocket last year successfully delivered NASA astronauts to space.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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