Joining Maezawa on his 12-day journey aboard the ISS are veteran Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, who will command the mission, and Maezawa’s production assistant, and videographer Yozo Hirano, who will capture footage of the fashion mogul as he floats around the orbiting space station.
This mission exemplifies the drastic shift the global space industry has taken in the past decade. Such space tourism missions have happened before — namely eight similar missions for wealthy thrill seekers launched to the ISS in the 2000s, all organized aboard Soyuz capsules by US-based company Space Adventures. But such missions took a hiatus after NASA’s Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, leaving Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft as the only option for transporting even professional astronauts to the ISS.
It’s not clear how much Maezawa, who made his fortune with the Japanese e-commerce site Zozotown, paid for the mission. Space Adventures, which planned Maezawa’s flight as well as the ISS tourism flights of the 2000s, declined to share a figure. Previous Space Adventures flights to the ISS have cost travelers between $20 million and $40 million, Tom Shelley, the company’s president, acknowledged in an interview with CNN Business.
But he added that current market prices are more in the $50 million to $60 million range.
“It’s certainly within the the high tens of millions of dollars,” Shelley said.
Shelley also noted that after a prolonged hiatus, Space Adventures has noticed a drastic change in public awareness of spaceflight opportunities.
“When we were doing this 10, 15 years ago … many people were just not aware that flying to space as a private citizen was possible,” he said. “But now — come 2021 — there really is a heightened awareness within the market, and so the discussion is different.”
But the training was less intense than some of the earliest missions, Shelley said.
Maezawa, Hirano and Misurkin will return from the ISS on December 19, flying on the same Soyuz capsule as the first leg of their trip. If all goes according to plan, they’ll parachute to a landing in a remote area of Kazakhstan, as is standard procedure for a Soyuz flight.