I guess when you are a billionaire, finding somewhere new and exciting to go on vacation gets difficult after a while. No such problem for Charles Simonyi, who as part of the original Xerox PARC team helped developed the mouse, the GUI and even laser printing, and went on to Microsoft for 11 years where he oversaw development of both MS Excel and MS Word, and played a major role in the development of Object Oriented Programming for good measure. He has invested around $25 million and booked himself a place on the International Space Station for a week starting on the 9th march, 2007.
His experiences in training for the mission, as well as flying on the Russian built Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft that will transfer him to the International Space Station will be documented at his Charles in Space website.
“I hope to accomplish three things” says Simonyi “advance civilian space flight, assist research for the International Space Station , and involve young people in the science of space travel.”
Ironically, he could have been rather useful had he been vacationing last month because the International Space Station has been having a few problems with getting email accounts established for its astronauts. Or more precisely for those members of the Soyuz taxi service, known as Space Flight Participants, that require the ultimate in mobile email access. No prizes for guessing what email software has been causing the problems: Microsoft Outlook Express. Still, a man with the nerdy credentials of Simonyi should have no problems in getting his email working...