Charles Simonyi, a computer software executive most famous for leading the development of Microsoft Word and Excel in the 1980s, announced in September 2008 that he had booked a second flight with Space Adventures, currently the only company providing orbital space tourist flights to the International Space Station (ISS). Simonyi is currently training for the upcoming flight, which is scheduled to launch on March 25, 2009. He will join Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Mike Barratt, both members of Expedition 19 to the space station. The crew will ride to the ISS in the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14.
I caught up with Charles in between his training for a little chat about his upcoming trip.
NASA will fire up its latest rocket this April for its first test flight. Ares 1 is designed to haul a 25-ton payload, making it capable of ferrying either six astronauts to the International Space Station or four astronauts to low-Earth orbit, where they can transfer to another vehicle and head to the moon. The rocket contains two stages: a reusable solid rocket booster and an engine powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. If all goes well with Orion, NASA’s planned crew vehicle, Ares 1 will be whisking the first crews into space by 2015.
The International Space Station maybe not be international for much longer. According to an NASA email leaked (by an undetermined source) to the Orlando Sentinel, the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 will cede de facto control of the ISS to Russia. That control will come just as NASA finishes assembling the ISS in 2011.
It's official—the company that brokered the first tourist flights to the International Space Station is now a major world player in manned spaceflight
By Michael BelfiorePosted 06.11.2008 at 1:04 pm 1 Comment
Space Adventures, the broker of the first tourist flights to space celebrated its ten-year anniversary today here at the Explorer's Club in New York with the announcement that it had scored a deal with the Russian Federal Space Agency, or RKA, to buy an entire flight to the International Space Station.
Sapporo plans to launch a beer brewed with barley grown at the ISS
By Jaya JiwatramPosted 05.30.2008 at 1:01 pm 14 Comments
Taking beer-making to a whole new sphere, Japan's famous Sapporo Holdings Ltd. plans to launch a beer in November that's literally from out of this world. The brewery will collaborate with scientists at the Okayama University in Japan to concoct this unearthly beverage from a third generation of barley grains that spent five months on the International Space Station in 2006.
International Space Station crews are using a temporary toilet in a docked Soyuz module until help arrives
By Matt RansfordPosted 05.28.2008 at 12:02 pm 3 Comments
Of all of the sophisticated technology powering the International Space Station, nothing brings the frustration of modern living back home to those of us on Earth more than a report of a broken toilet. Only the astronauts can't make an after-work run to the home repair store; they have to devise creative solutions while they wait for Saturday's launch of the space shuttle Discovery to bring them repair parts.
After a successful assembly, NASA's newest robotic crew member awaits its first mission
By Gregory MonePosted 03.17.2008 at 1:53 pm 0 Comments
All reports suggest that the International Space Stations new robotic handyman will survive, and not freeze into a $209 million junk pile due to a power problem. Astronauts bypassed a faulty cable on Friday, and managed to get power to the robot arm, which will keep it warm, and ready for duty, in the deep cold of space.
Engineers are hopeful that Dextre will be up and running soon
By Gregory MonePosted 03.14.2008 at 12:35 pm 2 Comments
The International Space Stations new robotic repairman, a $200 million Canadian robot called Dextre, should end up working just fine despite some early glitches, officials say. Dextre, an incredibly dexterous ‘bot with two flexible three-meter arms (hence, of course, the name), is designed to be a kind of maintenance machine on the outside of the ISS.
By Gregory MonePosted 12.03.2007 at 1:07 pm 0 Comments
There are only ten shuttle missions to the International Space Station remaining, and trunk space is pretty tight. This week, NASA plans to launch the $1 billion Columbus module, a scientific laboratory that will enable scientists to conduct a variety of materials science and biological research.
But that doesn't mean space researchers and scientists are entirely happy. Some are still lamenting the expected loss of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $1.5 billion cosmic-ray detector that probably won't ever find its way up to the station. NASA looked into different ways of delivering the AMS as late as last year, but each option proved too expensive.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 11.26.2007 at 10:46 am 6 Comments
The zeroHouse, a concept home designed by the New York architecture firm Specht Harpman, would run on solar power and rain water, use gravity-fed plumbing instead of traditional energy-demanding pumps, and recycle its waste.
SF site Technovelgy.com likens it to the advanced abodes described in the Arthur C. Clarke novel Childhood's End, which could be anywhere on land, or even in the sea. The zeroHouse isn't quite there yet, but it certainly would make its occupants feel like the characters in an SF novel. Even the winged solar panel design is reminiscient of the International Space Station. Unfortunately, though, the couches don't look very comfortable.—Gregory Mone