A Japanese billionaire and his producer rocketed to space on Wednesday and reached the International Space Station several hours later, the first visit by self-paying space tourists to the orbiting outpost in more than a decade.
According to AP, fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and producer Yozo Hirano, who plans to film his mission, blasted off for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft along with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
The trio lifted off as scheduled at 12:38 p.m. (0738 GMT) aboard Soyuz MS-20 from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan and successfully docked at the orbiting outpost almost six hours later.
In several more hours, the crew will be able to open the hatches and move to the space station from the Soyuz.
Maezawa and Hirano are scheduled to spend 12 days in space. The two are the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. The price of the trip hasn’t been disclosed.