19 December 2001
News - Tourism (Good)
Shuttleworth Headed for Orbit
Game shows reach for the stars
by Alan Breakstone
By Alan Breakstone

Mark Shuttleworth, the 28-year-old South African dot-com millionaire, has signed a contract with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency for a seat aboard a Soyuz spacecraft bound for Space Station Alpha. He will be the second paying passenger to orbit the earth, following Dennis Tito's historic space tourist flight in 2001. Shuttleworth's flight is scheduled for April 2002 (see http://www.africaninspace.com/). Space Adventures, who helped to arrange Tito's flight, is also arranging Shuttleworth's venture.
With Tito's flight, the Russians proved that a private citizen could visit Alpha without hindering a scientific mission. In an about-face from its hostility toward Tito, NASA has tentatively approved Shuttleworth's flight, apparently bowing to the inevitable.
So far, the only ways for a private citizen to experience outer space are to join the Russian cosmonaut training program at the cost of $20 million or win a trip through a competition. MirCorp is currently negotiating with two television production companies for development of "Survivor"-style game shows whose winners would fly a Soyuz into orbit (see http://www.space.com/news/mircorp_gameshow_011121.html).
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Alan Breakstone 19 December 2001
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