This morning on December 20, 2021 the Soyuz MS-20 crewed spacecraft descent vehicle, which had undocked from the International Space Station three hours earlier, landed at the designated point in Kazakhstan. The ‘tourist’ crew of Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and Japanese spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano returned to Earth.
The crew are in good health, all the landing and descent from orbit operations went normally. The ship undocked from the ISS Russian segment at 23:50:30 UTC on December 19. The spacecraft routinely switched its engines for braking at 02:18:56 UTC, after which it started descending from the orbit. Shortly thereafter, the Soyuz MS split into three compartments, and the three-person crew in the descent vehicle experienced normal overloads of about 4g.
To perform the program of post-flight scientific experiments and rehabilitation, Alexander Misurkin, Yusaku Maezawa, and Yozo Hirano will arrive at the Prelaunch Training and Post-Flight Rehabilitation Complex for Cosmonauts (Astronauts) of Star City (Moscow Region). The crew’s rehabilitation will last from 14 to 21 days, depending on how the crew feel. During this time, the cosmonauts regain normal physical form, under the supervision of doctors, they go swimming, hiking and gradually increase the load on the muscles.
The rehabilitation period does not exclude the participation of cosmonauts in experiments directly related to their professional activities. It is planned that on December 21 Alexander Misurkin will continue his participation in the Lazma medical experiment, which began in the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center before the flight, and then continued during the orbital mission. The Sozvezdiye-LM experiment also remains traditional with the main purpose to study the human capability to fly into deep space and work on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars.
The way to space
To recap, after a long break, Roscosmos sent two space tourists to the International Space Station: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano set off to the ISS on the Soyuz MS-20 crewed spacecraft with Hero of Russia, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin as the spacecraft commander, and the commander of the 20th visiting expedition to the ISS.
The Soyuz-2.1a rocket with the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft was launched from launchpad Vostok of Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 8 at 07:38 UTC. manned spacecraft flew to the ISS in accordance with a four-orbit scheme, and docked automatically to the station.
During the 11 days of the crew’s stay onboard the International Space Station, nine experiments were carried out under the Russian scientific program. Three experiments were conducted in the field of space biology and physiology: Biofilm, Mikrovir and Refleks, and four experiments in the field of advanced space technologies: Vizir, Stsenariy, Uragan, and Econ-M, as well as in one of the following directions: ‘Exploration of Earth from Space’ and ‘Physics of Cosmic Rays’ (Terminator and UV-Atmosfera, respectively).
Space tourists also took part in the station’s scientific program: in particular, in the Lazma medical experiment, aimed at studying blood microcirculation in microgravity conditions. The results obtained during the study will further help in the development of preventive measures. The improvement of existing preventive measures is especially important for prospective deep-space flights. The elimination of unpleasant symptoms associated with circulatory disorders will help cosmonauts avoid getting sick and maintain high performance on the station. Thanks to the Japanese tourists, this is the first time this project has been carried out aboard the ISS.
Maezawa is one of the richest people in Japan. First of all, he gained fame as the founder of the online clothing store Zozotown. In addition, he is an art collector and founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation.
Yozo Hirano joined ZOZO after graduating as a casting director for a photography group. He currently works as a producer for SPACETODAY. On the ISS, Yozo Hirano was responsible for covering the flight of Yusaku Maezawa.