Updated: 10:45 am, Nov. 4
Japanese entrepreneur Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto will be the next private space explorer to visit the International Space Station (ISS), the world's leading space tourism company Space Adventures, Ltd. announced today.
Enomoto, 34, will be the fourth fare-paying private explorer - and the first from Asia - sent into space by Space Adventures, following Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, and most recently Gregory Olsen, who returned from the ISS last month.
Enomoto's 10 day expedition, which will include eight days on the ISS, is currently planned for October 2006. Like previous space tourists, Enomoto will travel to the ISS in a Russian Soyuz capsule, and he has already begun his cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.
"I am proud to be the first private citizen from Japan to begin training for an orbital spaceflight. I hope that by my interest in space exploration many others will be encouraged to learn more about the mysteries of the black sky. For the past 30 years, I have dreamt of seeing our Mother Earth from space," Enomoto said in a statement.
"We are excited to announce that Dice-K will be the next private space explorer to visit the International Space Station," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures in a written statement. "It will be another proud moment at his launch, not only for Space Adventures, but for Japan as a country. We encourage people from all around the world to explore the final frontier. We congratulate Dice-K and wish him well in his training."
Enomoto is a self-described fanboy of the popular Japanese anime series "GUNDAM" - a futuristic cartoon where humans wage battle wearing giant robot suits. In previous interviews, Enomoto has said that with Russian approval, he would like to dress up as Char Aznable, a popular Darth Vader-like character on the show.
A former executive vice president and chief strategic officer of the IT company Livedoor and the founder of DICE-K.com, Enomoto now lives in Hong Kong and works as an independent investor.
Space Adventures is headquartered in Arlingtion, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow, and Tokyo. It is the only company to successfully launch private explorers into space and offers a variety of programs, such as Zero-Gravity and MiG flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts.