Japanese space tourists return to Earth after 12 days on ISS
A Japanese billionaire returned to Earth Monday, after 12 days on the International Space Station where he made videos about performing mundane tasks including brushing teeth and going to the bathroom.
Online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano parachuted onto Kazakhstan’s steppe at around the expected landing time of 0313 GMT Monday, along with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
Footage from the landing site, around 150 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of the central Kazakhstan town of Zhezkazgan, showed the trio smiling after being helped out of the Soyuz descent module and into evacuation vehicles in freezing, foggy conditions.
“The crew is feeling good,” Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.
In his first tweet since returning to Earth, Maezawa posted a picture of himself eating instant noodles, saying he was on “Earth now”.
The returned crew will spend two to three weeks reconditioning under the guidance of doctors as they reacclimate to Earth. They are due to hold a post-mission press conference Wednesday.
Their journey marked Russia’s return to space tourism after a decade-long pause that saw competition emerge from the United States.
They spent 12 days on the orbiting laboratory where the tourists documented their daily life aboard the ISS for Maezawa’s popular YouTube channel.
Addressing his one million followers on YouTube, the 46-year-old billionaire explained how to brush teeth and go to the bathroom in space.
In one of the videos, he explained in detail the business of relieving oneself on the ISS.
“Peeing is very easy,” he said as he demonstrated a handheld funnel astronauts use to suck their urine away.
In other videos, he showed his followers how to properly drink tea and sleep in zero gravity.
When the three space travellers arrived on the ISS on December 8, they joined a seven-team crew who were engaged in space biology and physics research.