Software developer advanced civilian spaceflight, assisted with space station research and involved youth in the science of space travel during ISS stay
Vienna, Va. – April 21, 2007 -- Space Adventures, Ltd., the world's leading space experiences company, announced today that Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., successfully landed in the Kazakhstan steppes after a 14-day visit to the International Space Station (ISS). Dr. Simonyi returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-9 with Expedition 14 crew members Michael Lopez-Alegria and Mikhail Tyurin, who both spent seven-months aboard the ISS.
"Seeing the space station for the first time from inside the Soyuz was such an unforgettable experience. Seeing the Earth from space, so beautiful, majestic and calm, has filled me with great optimism," said Dr. Simonyi. "I think it is written into our DNA to explore. Space exploration is so important to humanity, that to have been able to participate in it, even in a very small way, was such a privilege."
"We, at Space Adventures, applaud Charles, not only for pursuing his lifelong dream of space travel, but for taking his own personal step toward opening up the space frontier for all of us. Charles is an inspiration and it has been a pleasure and an honor to help make his goal of spaceflight a reality," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.
Earlier in the month, on April 7, Dr. Simonyi launched aboard Soyuz TMA-10 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He joined Expedition 15 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Oleg Kotov for the flight. They arrived at the space station on April 9 and were greeted by the Expedition 14 crew.
In preparation for his spaceflight with Space Adventures, Dr. Simonyi completed a training program at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center located in Star City, Russia. During his 11-day stay aboard the ISS, Dr. Simonyi assisted several international space agencies by conducting experiments, communicated with hundreds of high school students via HAM radio signal in cooperation with Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) and celebrated Cosmonautics Day by presenting a gourmet meal to the space station crew.
Dr. Simonyi has been chronicling the details of his mission, from training to landing, on his Web site, www.charlesinspace.com, with photos, video, audio, in-depth blogs, answers to questions posed by visitors to the site, and much more. Now back on solid ground, Dr. Simonyi will continue to share his experiences on his site, expanding upon the accounts of his time aboard the ISS, and providing insights into his landing and return to Earth. Additionally, children can continue to visit the site's "Kids' Space" and earn an official "Charles in Space Certificate of Achievement."
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.
Space Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private explorers to space, is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as the availability today for spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company's advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker, Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com.