Japan billionaire lands after 12-day space flight

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa touched down to Earth on Monday (December 20) after a 12-day journey into space.

It was the end of a practice run for his planned trip around the moon with Elon Musk's SpaceX in 2023.

The 46-year-old fashion magnate and art collector launched from Kazakhstan on December 8 along with his assistant Yozo Hirano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

Maezawa, a space enthusiast, made the trip in a Soyuz spacecraft and became the first space tourist to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in more than a decade.

One of Japan's most flamboyant public figures, the entrepreneur returned to snowy conditions on Earth, with precipitation and sub-zero temperatures at the landing site.

He entertained his social media followers from space by taking photos of his home province, showing how to make tea in zero gravity and discussing the shortage of fresh underwear.

Maezawa will become the first private passenger on the SpaceX moon trip in 2023, as commercial firms including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin usher in a new age of space travel for wealthy clients.

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