Thanks to SpaceX, Mr. Maezawa — a 41-year-old Japanese billionaire — is now officially a space tourist. The artist landed a capsule on the International Space Station Tuesday after a three-day space journey.
Mr. Maezawa arrived at the space station at 7:10 a.m. ET via the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship, traveling at 19,648 mph and completing the trip in an unprecedented 13 minutes.
Just a few days after he left Earth, Mr. Maezawa tweeted to his 13.7 million followers that the trip was “historic”:
Yusaku Maezawa arrival at the Space Station is historic. Designed with #space by the Japanese scientists, artists and their amateur enthusiasts. Was time-consuming but worth it. 1/8 pic.twitter.com/kXi5dvX9t8 — Space (@SpaceX) June 19, 2018
He also showed off the stunning view of the lower 70% of the world he was able to see from space:
We can see the lower 70% of the world now. I’m close to some beautiful spots. 1/6 pic.twitter.com/R2mwKy8bVX — Space (@SpaceX) June 19, 2018
Even more view from the ISS! 1/9 pic.twitter.com/5Y37sp9fNv — Space (@SpaceX) June 19, 2018
Looking over the lower 70% of the earth is awe-inspiring. I’m grateful for this incredible journey 1/10 pic.twitter.com/vYqUaj2RJv — Space (@SpaceX) June 19, 2018
The aircraft was sent for a rest after an intense 12 days of travel, and NASA shared a short video of Mr. Maezawa’s capsule’s descent:
What an amazing view! @spacex has the latest pictures, incl. this one of @yusaku_maezawa departing the @Space_Station aboard the #Dragon spacecraft → https://t.co/QfnMwP7HqX pic.twitter.com/e3YQGi5NDY — NASA (@NASA) June 19, 2018
An 8-foot-by-1.5-foot painting by Mr. Maezawa hangs at the space station, where astronauts will hang it up in the gallery above.
SpaceX and Mr. Maezawa previously announced that he was paying $80 million for the trip, and that he would have a larger group of friends with him.
He also posted this short video before leaving Earth:
His artwork includes paintings that depict animals, news and sunsets. Most of his portraits include rain and or floating structures, as well as basketball and baseball players, both nationalized.
As the Wall Street Journal noted, the exhibit is “oddly reminiscent of the recent arrival of Damien Hirst’s skull painting in Barcelona’s Museu d’Art Populaire.
“Mr. Hirst, in business with Mr. Maezawa and the founder of the Japan-based arts foundation Project A., doesn’t see it the same way.”
SpaceX’s last cargo delivery to the space station arrived on May 31. The company has helped humanity become a longer distance intergalactic traveler, with its Dragon capsule now carrying crews and astronauts, and this is its first crewed flight since October 2015.
This year, the Russians are taking the helm with a similar trip aboard the Soyuz-FG spacecraft. The rocket’s next liftoff is June 24.