Japanese Space Tourist Trains for September Launch
Japan's first tourist slated to fly in Earth orbit has received a clean bill of health from Russia's Federal Space Agency to train for a planned September spaceflight, the Space Adventures tourism firm said Monday.
Russia's Government Medical Committee found Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto, a 34-year-old Japanese entrepreneur, fit for training and the final contract for his 10-day spaceflight has been signed, according to the Arlington, Virginia-based Space Adventures, which brokered the trip.
Enomoto is taking Russian language courses and is immersed in the first phase of his cosmonaut training, Space Adventures spokesperson Stacey Tearne told SPACE.com. Of his 10 days in Earth orbit, about eight of them will be aboard the International Space Station (ISS), she added.
Slated to launch toward the ISS this September with the station's Expedition 14 crew, Enomoto is the fourth paying visitor bound for Earth orbit. His planned flight follows the ground-breaking launch of U.S. entrepreneur Dennis Tito in 2001, South African Mark Shuttleworth's 2002 spaceflight, and the 2005 mission of U.S. scientist and businessman Gregory Olsen.
Space Adventures helped arrange all three of the previous flights, each with a reported price of about $20 million, aboard Russia's robust, three-person Soyuz TMA spacecraft. Enomoto and the Expedition 14 crew will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-9 vehicle, the space tourism firm said.
"We look forward to his launch in September when his dream of spaceflight will be realized and we hope and trust that he will be an inspiration to others around the world to pursue their own dreams of spaceflight," said Eric Anderson, Space Adventures CEO, of Enomoto in a statement.
Enomoto currently resides in Hong Kong and works as an independent investor. He previously served as executive vice president and chief strategic officer for the information technology firm Livedoor, and founded the website DICE-K.com.
In addition to brokering orbital space treks with wealthy individuals, Space Adventures also offers airplane flights that simulate weightlessness and rides aboard Russian MiG jets. The firm has also announced plans to offer $100 million flights to circle the Moon, as well its intentions to construct a fleet of suborbital rocketships for launch from future spaceports in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
MORE FROM SPACE.com