Japanese Space Tourist Trains for September Launch

Japanese Space Tourist Trains for September Launch
Space tourist-to-be Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto of Japan sits inside a Russian Soyuz TMA spacecraft simulator. Enomoto is set to ride the Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft to the International Space Station in September with the Expedition 14 crew. (Image credit: Space Adventures.)

Japan'sfirst tourist slated to fly in Earth orbit has received a clean bill ofhealth from Russia's Federal Space Agency to train for a planned September spaceflight, theSpace Adventures tourism firm said Monday.

Russia'sGovernment Medical Committee found Daisuke "Dice-K"Enomoto, a 34-year-old Japanese entrepreneur, fit for training and the finalcontract for his 10-day spaceflight has been signed, according to the Arlington,Virginia-based Space Adventures, which brokered the trip.

Enomoto istaking Russian language courses and is immersed in the first phase of hiscosmonaut training, Space Adventures spokesperson Stacey Tearne told SPACE.com.Of his 10 days in Earth orbit, about eight of them will be aboard theInternational Space Station (ISS), she added.

Slated tolaunch toward the ISS this September with the station's Expedition 14 crew,Enomoto is the fourth paying visitor bound for Earth orbit. His planned flightfollows the ground-breaking launch of U.S. entrepreneur Dennis Tito in 2001, South African Mark Shuttleworth's 2002 spaceflight, and the2005 mission of U.S. scientist and businessman GregoryOlsen.

SpaceAdventures helped arrange all three of the previous flights, each with a reportedprice of about $20 million, aboard Russia's robust, three-person Soyuz TMAspacecraft. Enomoto and the Expedition 14 crew will launch aboard the SoyuzTMA-9 vehicle, the space tourism firm said.

"We lookforward to his launch in September when his dream of spaceflight will berealized and we hope and trust that he will be an inspirationto others around the world to pursue their own dreams of spaceflight," saidEric Anderson, Space Adventures CEO, of Enomoto in a statement.

Enomotocurrently resides in Hong Kong and works as an independent investor. He previouslyserved as executive vice president and chief strategic officer for theinformation technology firm Livedoor, and founded the website DICE-K.com.

In additionto brokering orbital space treks with wealthy individuals, Space Adventuresalso offers airplane flights that simulate weightlessness and rides aboardRussian MiG jets. The firm has also announced plans to offer $100 millionflights to circle theMoon, as well its intentions to construct a fleet of suborbital rocketshipsfor launch from future spaceports in Singaporeand the UnitedArab Emirates.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.