US space tourist shrugs off 10 mln dollar price hike

Mar 05, 2009
US software architect and space tourist Charles Simonyi meets with press outside Moscow in Star City. Simonyi shrugged off a 10 million dollar price hike by Russia for his next space flight, saying space tourism was the way of the future.

American software tycoon Charles Simonyi on Thursday shrugged off a 10 million dollar price hike by Russia for his next space flight, saying space tourism was the way of the future.

Simonyi, one of the brains behind the rise of Microsoft, said the 35 million dollars (28 million euro) he is paying for his March 26 trip -- compared to the 25 million dollar bill he paid for a first trip in 2007 -- was worth it.

"It's money that is spent on space exploration.... Russia is the only country in the world which offers those services," Simonyi told journalists at the Star City training centre near Moscow ahead of his flight.

"I think space tourism is probably the only business model that is a viable business model for manned space flights, where you can actually make a profit," he added.

Simonyi is to spend 11 days on his trip from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome to the International Space Station, bumping back down to Earth on April 6.

Russia has announced it is to be the last flight by a paying space tourist, due to pressure on seats from its main space partner the United States and others.

Asked why he was making a second flight, Simonyi said he wanted to improve his skills.

While in space he plans to conduct experiments and communicate by radio with students on Earth.

"I think of this flight as a continuation of the first flight. When you do something and you learn a skill I think it's a great opportunity to use that skill, to be more efficient," he said.

Recently married to Swedish millionaire's daughter Lisa Persdotter after breaking from former partner Martha Stewart, Simonyi said he had renounced the idea of a third flight for the sake of his marriage.

"I decided to do this flight before I got engaged and me and my wife agreed that I would be able to fly just once more. So I cannot fly the third time. My wife is absolutely against it," he said.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Scars on Mars from 2012 rover landing fade—usually

Related Stories

Mission studies the Sun in soft X-rays

Mar 24, 2015

At any given moment, our sun emits a range of light waves far more expansive than what our eyes alone can see: from visible light to extreme ultraviolet to soft and hard X-rays. Different wavelengths can ...

Recommended for you

Cassini: Return to Rhea

11 hours ago

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

Comet dust—planet Mercury's 'invisible paint'

18 hours ago

A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from p ...

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

21 hours ago

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

21 hours ago

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

MESSENGER completes 4,000th orbit of Mercury

21 hours ago

On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. The orbital phase of the MESSENGER ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

blackle4ps3
1 / 5 (1) Mar 05, 2009
They could probably build you a Mig 105 - 11B for that price. Have other experimental sub-space flyers in gallery at clubzone-australia
blackle4ps3
1 / 5 (1) Mar 05, 2009
WOW Was in with Martha Stewart I love this guy,is he hiring,at around 30k yearly I'll load the desk with ideas & innovations not thought of by those in groups. I'm no long shot,as one can see from my movie plots listed in forum at clubzone.prefer no relocation & one year terms.I'm an individualist who web surfs alone.(this students thing surf that next)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.