Saturday, 07 Apr, 2007 Science

5th Space Tourist Has Left the Atmosphere


Microsoft co-founder - Charles Simonyi
Charles Simonyi
"Soyuz TMA-10" has started today from Baikonur with the crew of the 15th ISS expedition on board. One of the passengers of the spacecraft was the 5th ever space tourist - Charles Simonyi, one of Microsoft's co-founders.

The rocket was launched as planned, at 21.31 Moscow Time (0.31 UTC). At 21.39 Moscow Time (0.39 UTC) the spacecraft should have released from the carrier Soyuz-FG, as stated by one of the officials from Russian Flight Control.

The spacecraft is expected to dock the International Space Station on Monday, April 9th, at 23.12 Moscow Time (2.12 UTC).

The crew of the current 15th mission consists of Russian members: ISS captain, Soyuz board engineer - Fyodor Yurchikhin; Soyuz captain, ISS board engineer - Oleg Kotov. The latter has become the 'anniversary' 100th Russian astronaut to fly into space. On Thursday Russia celebrates the Day of the Cosmonaut so the two Russian astronauts and the 5th tourist will share a celebration meal, which was carried in an aluminum package by Simonyi.

The 5th space tourist in history, the American of Hungarian origins, Charles Simonyi, is expected to stay on the ISS for 13 days, whereas the astronauts will have to spend more time on the station - 189 days. The tourist and the software mogul has paid $25 million to have a trip of his lifetime.

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