Soyuz TM-11 lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Soviet Union, bound for the space station Mir. Aboard the Soyuz is a crew of three: cosmonauts Viktor Afanasyev and Musa Manarov, with Tokyo Broadcasting System reporter Toyohiro Akiyama, who transmits live reports from Mir for the duration of his week in orbit. (Akiyama will return to Earth with the Soyuz TM-10 crew.) Akiyama is the first space traveler whose seat has been commercially bought and paid for, a flight which ignites the “space tourism” industry built around buying Soyuz seats. Afanasyev and Manarov remain in orbit for 175 days, returning to Earth with British space traveler Helen Sharman in May 1991.