OREANDA-NEWS. On Wednesday, December 8, Russia sent space tourists into space for the first time in the last 12 years. There are Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maesawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano on board of the spacecraft. The space excursion will last presumably 12 days.

The Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle launched at 10:38 Moscow Time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft normally separated from the third stage of the rocket at 10:47 Moscow time and headed for the International Space Station. The flight to the station will take place according to a four-turn scheme, docking to the small research module «Search» is scheduled at 16:41 Moscow time.

«It is planned to deliver about 162 kg of payloads to the ISS, including materials for biomedical research and experiments, consumables, hygiene products, food rations and 13 kg of fresh fruit», Roscosmos reported. In addition, Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, who are on the ISS, will receive messages and gifts from relatives and friends.

Yusaku Maesawa is a Japanese entrepreneur, founder of Zozo Inc. In the ranking of the richest residents of Japan, he ranks 14th. Yozo Hirano works as a producer at Space Today. On the ISS, Hirano will be responsible for covering Maezawa's flight.