A tourist crew consisting of a Japanese fashion tycoon, his producer, and a Russian cosmonaut have safely made it back to Earth early on Monday after spending 12 days at the International Space Station.
The Russian Soyuz capsule carrying the trio performed a soft touchdown on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:13am (3:13am GMT), three hours after undocking from the ISS.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, his producer Yozo Hirano, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin experienced a standard 4g acceleration load during the routine landing, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said. It was Maezawa’s third space mission.
The spacefarers were said to be feeling well. All-terrain vehicles were sent on site to retrieve the crew as low clouds prevented the use of helicopters.
The Japanese citizens became the first self-paying tourists to visit the International Space Station since 2009.
Maezawa told AP in an interview from orbit last week that he paid “pretty much” the sum of $80 million for his trips. The 46-year-old complained about “a little bit of motion sickness” and difficulties with sleep while in orbit, but still said that it was an “amazing experience.”
The founder of Zozotown, Japan’s largest online fashion shopping platform, Maezawa had completed more than 100 tasks in space during the last 12 days, including trying to play table tennis and golf.
The tycoon, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $1.9 billion, has long been fascinated by space. He also booked a seat on Elon Musk’s Starship, which is set to fly by the Moon in 2023.
In October, Russian actress Yulia Peresild and filmmaker Klim Shipenko flew to the ISS to shoot footage for ‘The Challenge,’ the first-ever feature film made in space, as part of a collaboration between Roscosmos and country’s television Channel 1.