Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa returned to Earth after a 12-day trip to space, ending a practice run for his planned trip around the moon with founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2023. But one day before his return, he fulfilled a promise made to his followers: hand out money from space.
Broadcasting from the International Space Station (ISS), Maezawa used the Japanese donation platform Kifutown and distributed free money to all participants in an impossible-to-lose lottery.
According to local media, the amounts distributed ranged from 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 100,000 and one million yen (from $ 4.41 to $ 8,816).
The prizes were distributed electronically and cannot be converted to cash so the winners of the raffle They can only spend them on virtual purchases in stores related to the initiative or donate it to allied charitable causes.
The Japanese billionaire who sold his online fashion business, Zozo, to SoftBank in 2019, He will be the first person to travel to the moon as a tourist in 2023 and he is looking for eight people to join him on this adventure, for which they must undergo medical examinations and an interview.
The 12 days in orbit were part of Maezawa’s preparation for this trip, and he did it together with his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
The Japanese travelers launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on December 8, becoming the first space tourists to travel to the ISS in more than 10 years.
When they arrived at the ISS, they joined a crew of seven teams engaged in research in space biology and physics.
During his time on the ISS, The Japanese tycoon not only gave away money, but also dedicated himself to documenting daily actions in zero gravity conditions and uploading them to YouTube. Among other things he showed how to brush your teeth and make tea in zero gravity.
The businessman and his assistant returned to snowy conditions on Earth, with rainfall and freezing temperatures at the landing site about 150 km (93 miles) southeast of the city of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.
His return culminates a banner year that many have seen as a turning point for private space travel.
Billionaires Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson also flew groundbreaking commercial sightseeing flights this year.