Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is set to go on a test run for his future trip around the Moon. He's set to spend 12 days on the International Space Station alongside his assistant, Yozo Hirano, who will document the trip.
Along with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, the pair will travel to the ISS on a Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft operated by Russia's space agency, Roscosmos. The launch is scheduled for 2:38AM ET on December 8th.
Maezawa has been training for the trip for 100 days. His stay on the ISS is another indication that civilian trips to the space station are becoming more commonplace. According to Agence France-Presse, he and his assistant will be the first space tourists to visit the ISS in more than a decade, though Roscosmos took a film director and actor there in October to shoot a feature film in space for the first time.
The billionaire announced in March that he was looking for eight other people to join him on his week-long lunar trip, which is tentatively set for 2023. All going well, he and his crewmates will become SpaceX's first lunar tourists. Mazewa, who bought out all of the seats on the flight, has become well-known for giveaways. In early 2019, he promised to give away over $900,000 to people who retweeted him. That led to him shattering Twitter's retweet record via his excellent handle, @yousuck2020.