How to watch Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa travel into space this week

The tycoon will use his YouTube channel to document his 12 days on the International Space Station

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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is set to go to the International Space Station this week.

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft will carry Mr Maezawa, 46, founder of Japan’s largest online fashion mall, into space along with video producer Yozo Hirano and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin on Wednesday.

A launch is scheduled for 11.38am, UAE time, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and will be streamed live by the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Nasa.

Mr Maezawa plans to document his 12-day stay on the space station for his 754,000 subscribers on YouTube.

He booked his and his producer’s ticket through Space Adventures, a tourism company that has sent seven paying customers into space so far.

“Final check of the Soyuz before launch. I have carefully checked the position of the GoPro camera installed on the spacecraft. It’s a scary feeling,” Mr Maezawa tweeted.

The billionaire has been sharing his experience of the intense training all amateur and professional astronauts must undergo before a mission.

This includes spending 10 to 15 minutes in a spinning chair to adjust the eyes and brain to the movement.

Trainees must also sleep on a bed that is tilted up to familiarise astronauts with the feeling of blood rushing to the head.

“The spinning chair is torture. It’s one of the hardest things and I have to do it every day,” Mr Maezawa said last month.

The trip is also part of Russia’s efforts to establish a space tourism industry and stay relevant in the modern space race.

American companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have successfully sent space tourists in to space.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson flew on his company’s spacecraft on July 12, along with a pilot and four other crew members.

Later that month, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos flew to space on his company’s vessel.

Since then, the space tourism company has also taken Star Trek actor William Shatner into space.

On December 9, another Blue Origin flight will take a crew of six to space, including Laura Shepard, daughter of America’s first astronaut Alan Shepard, and Super Bowl champion Michael Strahan.

Nasa no longer has to rely on using Russian rockets to send its astronauts to space. It is now using Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets.

Roscosmos beat Hollywood in October when it sent a Russian actress and director to the space station to film a movie.

American actor Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman are planning to film a movie in space.

Mr Maezawa’s journey to space is part of his ambitious plans to go to the Moon one day.

He has paid for a SpaceX flight that would take eight amateur astronauts around the Moon in 2023, including him.

"Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the Moon. This is my lifelong dream," he said when the announcement was made in 2018.

"I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon.”

"They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.”

Updated: December 07, 2021, 3:00 AM