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Space tourist reveals ‘unusual training’ for this week’s mission to ISS

A billionaire businessman heading to the International Space Station (ISS) this week has revealed some unusual training routines for his upcoming mission.

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, who made his fortune in online fashion retail, is believed to have paid tens of millions of dollars to ride aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS on Wednesday, December 8. He’s also the guy hoping to go on a flyby of the moon in 2023.

Traveling with video producer Yozo Hirano, who will document this month’s trip, and veteran cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, the trio will spend 11 days aboard the orbiting outpost before returning to Earth.

The six-hour journey to the space station will begin with a rocket launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Sharing mission preparations with his social media followers, Maezawa recently tweeted three activities titled “unusual training in Russia.”

The first one involved placing a wooden block underneath the legs of his bed to get the blood flowing down to his head when he slept.

【11 days until Launch🚀】

Unusual training in Russia ①

Place a wooden block underneath the legs of the bed to tilt it. Get the blood flowing down to your head and sleep in that position.#MZJourneytoSpace pic.twitter.com/KF1Fpx35yC

— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) November 27, 2021

The second involved daily games of badminton, which apparently hammered Maezawa’s knees and hips.

【11 days until Launch🚀】

Unusual training in Russia ②

2 weeks before launch and for some reason we started playing badminton everyday. It’s fun so it’s okay but my knees and hips are paying for it…
3rd miss already…#MZJourneytoSpace pic.twitter.com/T3H2NxjnIj

— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) November 27, 2021

And the third involving a spinning chair, which, despite looking like an outing on a children’s merry-go-round, Maezawa described as “the hardest training ever done.”

【11 days until Launch🚀】

Unusual training in Russia ③

The spinning chair – almost feels like torture. Some cosmonauts say it’s necessary, some say it’s not. Either way, it’s the hardest training ever done.

※Warning: eyes will be spinning just by watching#MZJourneytoSpace pic.twitter.com/ARzh7yaXXk

— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) November 27, 2021

While activities one and three appear to be preparation for the microgravity conditions that Maezawa and his fellow travelers will experience aboard the space station, the badminton games seem geared toward enhancing general fitness ahead of the trip. It certainly seems unlikely that Maezawa will be playing badminton aboard the ISS, though it’s worth remembering that a few years ago several visiting astronauts did attempt a game of “space tennis” inside one of the station’s modules.

Maezawa’s six-month training regime also involved a weightless flight that saw him spun around like an aircraft propeller. It’s not clear if the high-speed rotation was an integral part of the training program (perhaps to simulate a spacecraft spinning out of control) or the instructors just having a laugh.

【66 days until Launch🚀】
Experienced zero-gravity for the first time! Was hard to use my hands and feet at first, but was so fun after I got used to it! Hard to imagine being in this environment for 12 days but so excited 😆#MZJourneytoSpace pic.twitter.com/qYoOZsSxSZ

— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) October 4, 2021

On Sunday, the businessman posted a photo of the rocket that will take him and his two fellow passengers to space. “Just waiting for the time to come,” Maezawa wrote.

【2 days until Launch🚀】

The Soyuz rocket is all prepared.

MZ is also all prepared.

Just waiting for the time to come.#MZJourneytoSpace pic.twitter.com/Y9RcUDf0lQ

— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) (@yousuckMZ) December 6, 2021

Maezawa and Hirano will be the latest in a growing number of non-professional astronauts to experience orbital trips in a new era of commercial space travel. Just a couple of months ago a Russian filmmaker and actor spent almost two weeks aboard the ISS, recording scenes for a movie called Challenge, while in September SpaceX sent an all-civilian crew into orbit for three days.

The next trip of note involving amateur astronauts is set for January 2022 and will use SpaceX hardware to take four crew members to the ISS on a mission organized by space tourism company Axiom.

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