From December 29th (Friday), the documentary film "The Reason I Went to Space," which closely follows Yusaku Maezawa's space journey, has been released. As the first private Japanese citizen to travel to the International Space Station (ISS), this film vividly and in detail covers everything from Maezawa's rigorous examinations and training leading up to his departure to space, his 12-day stay at the ISS, and the roughly seven years up until his return to Earth.
Yusaku Maezawa, with the support of Space Adventures (a U.S. space travel company) and Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency), stayed at the ISS as the first civilian Japanese from December 8 to December 20, 2021. The Soyuz spacecraft "MS-20," carrying three people, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 16:38 on December 8, 2021, Japan time, and successfully docked with the ISS around 22:40 that evening. The hatch to the ISS was opened around 1:12 on December 9, marking the first entry of a Japanese civilian.
Accompanying him were Russian pilot Alexander Misurkin and Yusaku Maezawa's associate,
Yozo Hirano, who was part of the crew filming the entirety of the space flight. After a 12-day stay, they safely returned to Earth, landing in the Zhezkazgan region of Kazakhstan at 12:13 pm (Japan time) on December 20, 2021. Prior to their return, they boarded the Soyuz spacecraft "MS-20" at 5:30 am Japan time on December 20, 2021, and undocked from the ISS at 8:49 am, after which they flew for approximately 3 hours and 24 minutes before landing.
Visiting the ISS
This trip marked the first time a civilian Japanese, Yusaku Maezawa, visited and stayed at the ISS (the second person for commercial space flight from Japan in 31 years since Toyohiro Akiyama). The ISS is a collaborative project between 15 countries including the United States, Japan, Canada, European countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden), and Russia, serving as a hub for space activities and a symbol of international cooperation and peace.
Maezawa, who has always advocated for "NO WAR," likely found his visit to this symbol of world peace profoundly moving. As the guide for the "dearMoon" project, a civilian lunar orbital mission planned with SpaceX, Maezawa wished to visit space first to enhance the expectations and reassurance of the crew joining him. The ISS orbits about 400 km above the Earth at a speed of approximately 7.7 km/s (about 28,000 km/h), completing one orbit around the Earth in about 90 minutes and approximately 16 orbits per day. Thus, during his roughly 12-day stay, Maezawa completed about 192 orbits of the Earth. He commented on the view of Earth from space, saying, "It's beautiful. I think the director, Mr. Hirano, worked hard to make it look as real as possible in the movie, but the real sunrises and sunsets are incredibly beautiful. Seeing them 16 times a day left a lasting impression."
Beyond a Journey to Earth
Maezawa's journey transcends mere travel, turning into an inspiring narrative filled with lofty aspirations and determination. The film beautifully captures the meaning of chasing dreams and reminds us of the infinite possibilities that lie in space travel. When asked about his continual challenges, Maezawa responded, "I feel alive when I'm constantly challenging myself. Challenging is not just a hobby for me; it's about persistently and tenaciously continuing to face challenges."
Inspiring oneself to face new challenges in any situation is never easy. However, Maezawa's willingness to showcase his challenges encourages others, teaching the importance of holding onto dreams and acting to realize them. Whether it's children who dream of space and the future, or adults who have forgotten how to dream, Maezawa's steadfast pursuit of his dreams encourages us all to dream once again.
About the Film "The Reason I Went to Space"
Cast: Yusaku Maezawa, Alexander Misurkin, Yozo Hirano, Shun Ogiso, Naoko Yamazaki
Director: Yozo Hirano
Producers: ON Inc
Production Cooperation: AOI Pro.
Distribution: Nakachika Pictures
Publicity Cooperation: Sunny Side Up ©2023 "The Reason I Went to Space" Production Committee
Official Website: https://whyspace-movie.jp/