Feeds

Ex-Microsoft man is next space tourist

First 'nerd' in space, he says

The Power of One Infographic

The man who led the development of Microsoft's Word and Excel programs is about to be sent into space.

This is not, as you might surmise, a one way trip paid for by hacked-off accountants and people who looked like they "might be writing a letter", but a voluntary trip he's paying for himself.

In fact, Charles Simonyi, 58, is set to become the 450th person in space, and the fifth amateur cosmonaut to fly to the International Space Station (ISS). He also claims to be the first nerd heading for orbit.

He is slated to take off on 9 March, 2007, provided he completes his training and passes all the medical tests.

Simonyi told the BBC that he had three goals: "One of them is to advance civilian spaceflight, the second to assist space station research, and the third to involve kids in space sciences," he said.

He says he plans to learn Russian as part of his preparation, and will also bone up on the workings of the rocket that will take him to the space station.

"Learning about the systems is part of my engineering curiosity and makes the whole experience so much more interesting when I understand exactly what is going on and, for example, why the flight is safe," he explained.

After the eight minute journey to orbit, on board a Russian Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonaur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the software engineer will spend two days travelling to the ISS. He'll spend eight days on board before returning to Earth.

As with other high profile space tourists, Simonyi has organised his trip through Space Adventures. The ticket to the ISS is thought to cost between $20m and $25m. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.