The entrepreneur and art collector will be joined by video producer Yozo Hirano and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin in his mission. The trio blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and will now head to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch took place at 7:38am and was shown live on NASA Television, courtesy of Roscosmos, Russia’s Federal Space Agency.
NASA and Roscosmos will also provide coverage of other milestones of the 12-day mission, which was organized via Virginia-based company Space Adventures.
It starts with a six-hour ride to the ISS on board the Soyuz MS-20 rocket.
Those on board the Russian rocket will dock with the ISS at around 1pm, with the hatch opening an hour later.
They will meet up with the orbiting lab’s Expedition 66.
It includes commander Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos; NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron; and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer.
NASA also will provide coverage when Misurkin, Maezawa, and Hirano depart the station on Sunday.
NASA and Roscosmos will be hoping for a smooth mission after the ISS made several headlines.
Last Friday, NASA was forced to take emergency measures as space debris threatens astronauts on board.
Flight controllers warned NASA astronauts that a piece of rocket may pass very close to the ISS today.
The debris is part of an old Pegasus rocket that was launched by the US in 1994.
According to NASA, the breakup of this rocket’s upper stage took place on June 3, 1996.
NASA said it was examining the “potential risk” of this debris.
They added: “Mission Control is working with NASA international partners to prepare for a possible debris avoidance manoeuvre.
“The Expedition 66 crew is not in any additional danger.”
It was later confirmed the ISS had to swerve away from a fragment of a US launch vehicle on Friday.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, said on Friday that the ISS had been forced to move.
Roscosmos said the station’s orbit, in an unscheduled manoeuvre carried out by mission control, dropped by 310 metres (339 yards) for nearly three minutes to avoid a close encounter.
Debris also forced NASA to postpone a spacewalk earlier that week.
It came after Russia received heavy criticism for performing an anti-satellite (ASAT) test on an old rocket.
The Russian military destroyed a defunct satellite with an on November 15.
It was blasted into more than 1,500 pieces and caused astronauts on board the ISS to have to shelter.
The test drew widespread condemnation from U.S. officials, which Russian officials responded by calling “hypocritical” given past American military tests in space.