Science & Technology

Soyuz MS-20 carrying Japanese space tourists lands on Kazakh steppe

Moscow, Dec 20 (EFE).- Russia’s Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft, commanded by cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and carrying Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano aboard, touched down on the Kazakh steppe on Monday, Russian space agency Roscosmos reported.

The Soyuz MS-20 landed at 03:13 GMT about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of the Kazakh city of Zheskazgan as scheduled.

“The crew of the AN-26 confirmed the landing of the reentry module with a crew. Welcome back to Earth, dear Alexander (Misurkin),” Roscosmos CEO Dmitri Rogozin wrote on Twitter, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.

Maezawa and Hirano were the first space tourists to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in 12 years.

This was also the first time that two space visitors traveled in the same spacecraft to the ISS and the first tourist flight to the orbital platform since 2009, when Canadian Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil (“Circus of the Sun”), set foot on the station.

Some 200 rescuers and 12 Mi-8 helicopters, two An-12 aircraft and one An-26 as well as about 20 motor vehicles were deployed during the landing operation.

The Japanese businessman, also known as “MZ” and his country’s 30th richest man, according to the Forbes list, stayed on the international orbital platform for 12 days.

The 46-year-old modern art and records collector founded Japan’s largest fashion online retailer, Zozo.

In 2019, he sold most of his stake in the group in a multi-billion dollar deal.

His assistant Yozo filmed his boss’s adventure on the ISS, which came about in collaboration with Roscosmos and American space tourism company, Space Adventure.

During his stay aboard the station, Maezawa posted about 20 videos on YouTube, where he has 1.43 million followers, showing details of his visit. EFE


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