Businessman pays $20M for space flight

July 6, 2005

New Jersey businessman and scientist Gregory Olsen paid $20 million for a "ticket of a lifetime" to hitch a ride from Russia to the International Space Station.

Olsen's agents signed an agreement this week for the trip aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle, probably in October, to spend about a week aboard the Earth-orbiting space station, the BBC reported.

Olsen would be the third space tourist behind South African Mark Shuttleworth in 2002 and U.S. citizen Dennis Tito in 2001.

The 60-year-old board chairman of Sensors Unlimited, Princeton, N.J., plans to test sensors the company has developed along with a series of personal experiments.

The company co-founded by Olsen, who holds a dozen U.S. patents, makes optoelectronic devices used in space, military and industrial applications.

Olsen, who paid $20 million for his "ticket of a lifetime," already has begun training at Russia's Star City space center near Moscow.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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