Japanese Billionaire Finishes Up Space Station Mission With Online Flourishes

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and two crewmates have returned to Earth after an 11-day mission to the International Space Station that was marked by online innovations including an NFT drop and a lottery giveaway.

Maezawa, his production assistant Yozo Hirano, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin took a 3.5-hour ride from the station on a Soyuz craft, climaxing in a touchdown amid the steppes of Kazakhstan around the appointed time of 0313 GMT (9:13 a.m. local time) Dec. 20.

After the landing, the three spacefliers were helped out of the capsule and given medical checks.

The short-duration stay was the first private astronaut trip to the space station brokered by Virginia-based Space Adventures in 12 years. In an interview with The Associated Press, Maezawa said reports that he paid more than $80 million for the adventure were “pretty much” accurate.

“Once you are in space, you realize how much it is worth it by having this amazing experience,” he told AP. “And I believe that this amazing experience will lead to something else.”

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Boeing to Offer Commercial Flights to Space

The aerospace company Boeing is developing a crew transportation vehicle and today announced an agreement with the space marketing company Space Adventures to offer commercial passenger seats on the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100) spacecraft, which is being built to with the capability to fly to the International Space Station as well as other future low Earth orbit private space stations. The spacecraft will be able to carry seven people, and is being designed to fly on multiple launch vehicles. It is expected to be operational by 2015.
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