Saturday the latest space tourist, Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., and his crew successfully launched aboard a Soyuz TMA spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station (ISS). Dr. Simonyi joins the Expedition 15 crew which includes
Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov for his 13-day mission.
"I consider my mission to be a small part of an important trend to make space accessible to more people. I hope to share my mission with many
others through my website, charlesinspace.com, which I will continue to update during my time on the
ISS,” said software pioneer and aviator, Dr. Simonyi. “I feel very lucky to be the world’s fifth civilian space traveler and I am very thankful to Space
Adventures for providing me with this opportunity.”
Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the company which organized the spaceflights for the world's first and only private
space explorers, said, “Through his efforts of creating perhaps the most widely used software business applications ever, Microsoft Word and
Excel, Charles has changed the scope of productivity around the world. As he launches today, on his own personal space adventure, he will
advance the space tourism industry toward its destiny with the same inevitability that he helped move computers from a room in a government
lab to desks in millions of offices and homes around the world.”
In preparation for his spaceflight with Space Adventures, Dr. Simonyi completed a cosmonaut training program at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Center located in Star City, Russia. During his 10-day stay aboard the ISS, Dr. Simonyi will assist several international space agencies by
conducting experiments, communicate with hundreds of high school students via HAM radio signal in cooperation with Amateur Radio on the ISS
(ARISS) and celebrate Cosmonautics Day by presenting a gourmet meal to the space station crew.
Dr. Simonyi’s mission to the ISS is the latest destination in a life defined by exploration and discovery. Born in Budapest, Charles Simonyi earned
his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in computer science
from Stanford University. From 1972 to 1980, Dr. Simonyi worked at Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He left PARC to join
Microsoft Corporation, where Dr. Simonyi held the titles of Director of Application Development, Chief Architect and Distinguished Engineer.
In August of 2002, Dr. Simonyi left Microsoft and founded Intentional Software Corporation, a software engineering company focused on
improving the way organizations write software. He then founded the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences in 2003 to support arts
organizations, science programs and educational institutions. Dr. Simonyi is a trained pilot in multi-engine aircraft with current licenses in jets and
helicopters and more than 2,000 hours of flying time.
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