The Soyuz MS-20 crewmembers opened the transfer hatches between the ship and the Poisk module of the International Space Station Russian segment. Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano performing the flight under contract with Space Adventures, moved aboard the ISS.
The 10-member crew of Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Pyotr Dubrov and Alexander Misurkin, as well as NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron, ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and Japanese tourists Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano, began working at the ISS after the hatches opened.
The 20th Visiting Expedition flight takes place with the ISS-66 main expedition flight. The tourist flight planned duration is 12 days.
Some 162 kg of cargoes were also delivered to the ISS including medical and biological research materials and experiments, expendable equipment, hygiene products, food rations and 13 kg of fresh fruits. Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov received congratulations from their relatives and friends, personal gifts and their favorite music as well as homemade New Year treats.
In 2019, Roscosmos and Space Adventures signed a contract for a short-term spaceflight to the International Space Station of two nonprofessional astronauts on a Soyuz MS spacecraft. The flight of Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano on the Soyuz MS-20 was announced on May 13, 2021. Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin soon confirmed the crews, and they began training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at the end of the month.
Yusaku Maezawa is a Japanese businessman and founder of Zozo Inc., the 14th richest person in Japan. Yozo Hirano works as a producer for Space Today. On the ISS, Hirano will be responsible for covering Maezawa’s flight.
Yusaku Maezawa said he has a list of about 100 tasks he plans to perform on the ISS. Among them is a game of badminton. Crewmembers will communicate in English. However, during the preflight press conference, Alexander Misurkin said that the Japanese spaceflight members have already begun to learn Russian, while he have taken up Japanese. Onboard the ISS and after the flight, they hope to continue learning languages.
The first news bureau on the ISS
On November 17, 2021, Roscosmos and TASS Russian news agency signed a memorandum of cooperation, which includes the creation of the agency’s office on board the International Space Station. The first TASS correspondent in orbit will be Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. He will talk about life and work on the station, and his news will be available on the agency’s information resources, as well as photos and videos on the website and official pages on social networks.
Readers of the agency will be able to learn more about the work of astronauts in orbit, scientific experiments and the spaceflight specifics. Roscosmos cosmonauts will tell about it.