Meanwhile, the Next Billionaire to Go to Space Continues Training

The Japanese billionaire and his assistant are heading to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz ship in December. Maezawa has also booked a trip around the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle for himself a group of people he’s taking with him.

Russia Switches to Year-Long Space Station Missions, Doubles Up on Tourist Flights as NASA Gravy Train Ends

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin has said that Russia will extend cosmonaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from six to 12 months in order to gather data needed for missions to the moon and Mars.

“We are talking about stable operations that will be carried out as part of yearly expeditions. Now this will be placed on a systemic basis with the corresponding system of biomedical researches. Year-long expeditions are what we need,” Rogozin said.

Well, that sounds good. Far sighted, even visionary. That’s what makes it so odd; these are not words normally associated with the Roscosmos boss. Something else seems to be going on here.

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Japanese Billionaut Maezawa Begins Training in Russia for Flight to ISS

Yusaku Maezawa (Credit: Roscosmos)

STAR CITY, Russia, June 15, 2021 (Roscosmos PR) — At the Yu.A. Gagarin, on June 15, 2021, the participants of the visiting expedition’s space flight were presented to the management and staff of the Center.

By the decision of the interdepartmental commission for the selection of cosmonauts for the VC-20 crews as space flight participants, the main crew were appointed:

  • Yusaku Maezawa, president of Start Today Corporation, businessman.
  • Yozo Hirano, producer, personal assistant to Maezawa Yusaku.
  • Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin became the commander of the prime crew.
  • Back-up crew commander – Alexander Skvortsov.
  • Shun Ogiso, Public Relations Manager of Start Today Corporation, will also take part in the training.
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Private Space Missions Multiplying Like Rabbits

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the spate of announcements about private space missions over the past year, it’s easy to lose track of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the flights.

As a public service, Parabolic Arc has collected information about all five of the announced missions.

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Moonaut Maezawa Ends Cosmic Dating Show

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX headquarters. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

The bachelor in space reality show is officially over even before it started.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has pulled out of AbemaTV’s reality show search for a girlfriend to accompany him on a voyage around the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle.

Reuters reports Maezawa is “extremely remorseful’ over his decision to end his participation in a program that drew almost 28,000 applicants.

Billionaire Japanese Moonaut Sells Majority Share of Fashion Company

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX headquarters. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

AFP reports Japanese billionaire billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who has booked a trip around the moon with SpaceX, will sell a majority stake in the Zozo fashion retailer he founded to Yahoo Japan for as much as 400.7 billion yen ($3.7 billion).

Yahoo Japan will acquire up to to 152.95 million shares for a 50.1 percent stake in the company, AFP reports. The total includes 92.7 million shares owned by Maezawa, who holds 30.37 percent of Zozo.

AFP reports he decided to sell to focus on a new business and his plans to fly around the moon in SpaceX’s Starship vehicle in 2023.

“I will leave Zozo’s future in the hands of a new president, and I’ll move on to a new path,” he said in a tweet.

The 43-year-old former wannabe rock star has a personal fortune this year valued around $2 billion, making him Japan’s 22nd richest person.

He made international headlines by booking a ticket aboard a SpaceX rocket, as well as for his purchase in 2017 of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece for $110.5 million.

At a press conference on Thursday, Maezawa cited his space plans and ambition to start a new business as reasons for stepping down.

Japanese Billionaire is Passenger on SpaceX BFR Moon Flight

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX headquarters. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa was introduced on Monday as the customer for SpaceX’s planned circumlunar flight aboard the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

The 42-year old billionaire, who founded the clothing company Zozo (www.zozo.com) and collects high-priced art, said he plans to invited six to eight artists on the trip who would create works of art after returning home. The passengers could include painters, sculptors, film directors, architects, writers and fashion designers.

Musk praised Maezawa as brave to take the flight. “This is dangerous, let’s be clear,” Musk warned. “This is no walk in the park.”

Maezawa’s flight is tentatively scheduled to occur in 2023. SpaceX Founder Elon Musk admitted he was not sure of the date because BFR is still under development.

Musk said Maezawa made a significant deposit on the expensive voyage around the moon. The funds will help fund the development and testing of the reusable rocket/spacecraft, which Musk estimated will cost $5 billion.

Maezawa is calling his flight Dear Moon and has established a website, dearmoon.earth. The flight’s Twitter handle is @dearmoonmission.