Sergey Brin books joyride on Russian rocket
Space merchant heads offplanet
Google kingpin Sergey Brin has put down $5m to book a ride into space aboard a Russian rocket, according to reports. American orbital-joyride travel agency Space Adventures revealed the move yesterday.
"I am a big believer in the exploration and commercial development of the space frontier and am looking forward to the possibility of going into space," said Brin, quoted by the BBC.
It appears that Space Adventures is arranging a special customised Soyuz for the online ads billionaire, which will rendezvous with the International Space Station in 2011.
"The Soyuz to be used for this mission will be a specially manufactured craft, separate from the other Soyuz vehicles designated for the transportation of the ISS crews," said Alexey Krasnov of Russian space agency Roskosmos.
"This private mission, flying two Space Adventures clients at once, will not interfere with the implementation of the ISS programme or the obligations of the Russian space agency."
Krasnov added that having the special tourist Soyuz on hand would add "flexibility and redundancy" to the ISS support programme.
Brin will no doubt be hoping that technical snags during recent Soyuz re-entries, which exposed "scared" astronauts to "twice the usual" amount of G-force, are sorted out by 2011. ®
Search and rescue?
Sergey perhaps does not know of the recent Russian reentry vehicle which went off course by quite a long way. Having demonstrated their ability to determine US astronauts' requirements for diapers (negative apparently), the Russians may consider it a splendid occasion to show Sergey what search really means. As soon as they put wheels, steering, and an engine on the guidance computers...
By the time I read the article/posted that it was something like 3:30 in the morning.
Also: 5 mil doesn't seem like a lot to me, not for a ride on a soyuz to the ISS. I believe shipping regular cargo to LEO is someting like $20,000 a pound on the cheap, might-just-explode rockets, let alone man-rated ones. 5 mil being the deposit makes a lot more sense.
Keep an eye on him
And frisk him as he gets on board, to make sure he's not concealing any discs containing a Google Desktop installer. I bet he tries to change the default search provider options up there too.
 Not that that is a bad thing, I wouldn't want to use Live search to find Russian toilet spares either.