Charles Simonyi lifts off for his second trip to space

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good ol' rock-steady Soyuz. Everybody loves the Soyuz.

I had read about Charles Simonyi's training to go back into space but didn't pay attention to the date, and was a bit surprised to see the news that he and the Russian cosmonauts lifted off yesterday (I actually noticed it on Deutsche Welle in Turkish here when looking for something else). It's a pity that he's going to be the last space tourist, but going into space as a private citizen for the second time is huge IMO: with that he's now going to have a great deal more experience and flight time then even some astronauts. Considering the amount of training required for each flight I don't think he should even be called a tourist anymore. (Yes, the official designation is "spaceflight participant" but articles often still refer to him as a tourist. No tourist needs this much training before travel.)

You can see an article on the flight here, or follow his second trip into space at his site here.

If things go as expected, SpaceX will soon be able to send people into space and Bigelow Airspace will have its craft in orbit as well, so Simonyi should be able to find another way up soon enough.

There's also a nice collection of pictures here showing the Soyuz being prepared for this flight.


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