Mar 26, 2009 | 1
Charles Simonyi made history today as the first space tourist—that is, not a professional astronaut, cosmonaut, or taikonaut—to visit the final frontier twice. The Hungarian-born software billionaire, 60, made his first foray into space in 2007 when he paid $25 million to visit the International Space Station (ISS). He blasted off again earlier today aboard a Soyuz spacecraft launched from a Russian space base in Kazakhstan. The price tag for his latest space adventure: $35 million.
Simonyi is slated to spend 12 days in space, most of it aboard the ISS, before returning on April 7. While on the ISS, he’ll conduct some science experiments designed to study the influence of zero gravity on lower back pain and osteoporosis, as well as the effects of spaceborne radiation, all hazards of spaceflight.
Oct 14, 2008
Civilian astronaut Richard Garriott, along with two crewmates, has docked at the International Space Station.
The Soyuz TMA 13 carrying Garriott, a video game designer who paid $30 million for a seat on the Russian spacecraft, arrived at the space station at 4:26 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time (08:26 Universal Time). Garriott is the son of astronaut Owen Garriott, who in 1973 was a crew member on the U.S.'s first space station, Skylab.
The elder Garriott nicknamed his son Peter Pan after watching him float via video link after he boarded the station. "I can fly!" Garriott told him, according to SPACE.com. "I'm sure excited so far."
Oct 10, 2008
A civilian American astronaut is a step closer to becoming the latest space tourist, after the rocket he'll travel in was transported to a launch pad in Kazakhstan today ahead of its weekend blastoff.
The Soyuz TMA-13 was taken three miles by rail to the Baikonur launch area in the south-central region of the country at dawn today, the Associated Press reports. The shuttle is scheduled to take off Sunday at 3:01 A.M. ET.
On board will be Richard Garriott of Austin, Texas, a millionaire video game designer and son of astronaut Owen Garriott, who took photos of Earth aboard the U.S. orbital station Skylab in 1973. In addition to performing the role of shutterbug (he's planning to take nearly 500 shots of Earth), Garriott, 47, will serve as a guinea pig of sorts for scientists checking out how space travel affects his eyes.
Sep 29, 2008 | 1
A company developing its own rocket finally got its ship into orbit, taking the private sector a step closer to low-cost space travel.
A Falcon 1 rocket lifted off at 4:15 P.M. Pacific time (11:15 Universal) yesterday from the Reagan Test Site on Omelek Island in the central Pacific, about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii, according to a press release from the company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). It was the fourth time that SpaceX—the brainchild of PayPal co-founder Elon Musk—tried lifting a payload into orbit.
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