Simonyi signs up for another rocket ride

Space Adventures says that Charles Simonyi, who spent time on the space station in 2007, is ready to return to orbit sometime next spring.

Software industry veteran Charles Simonyi is ready to go back to outer space.

In April 2007, Simonyi spent close to two weeks in orbit, in a very expensive round trip via Russian rocket to spend time aboard the International Space Station. The trip reportedly cost Simonyi $25 million, and apparently he considers the money very well spent: Space Adventures, the company that organized the junket, announced Tuesday that he has signed up for another trip, this one coming up sometime next spring.

Charles Simonyi after space flight
Charles Simonyi (seated) on his way to a post-space flight medical exam, April 21, 2007. NASA/Bill Ingalls

Space Adventures had little else to say on the matter for now, save that Simonyi would be training with the Soyuz TMA-14 crew. A press conference is scheduled for Monday.

Simonyi got his first big payday years back through his work on the Excel and Word programs at Microsoft, where he eventually spent two decades. In 2002, he founded the software engineering company Intentional Software .

His interest in outer space isn't limited to his own occasional travels. In January, Simonyi's Fund for Arts and Sciences gave $20 million to the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project--twice as much on that occasion as Microsoft co-founder and fellow billionaire Bill Gates. The Chile-based LSST, which is expected to be ready for service in about 2014, will be on the lookout for dark energy and dark matter.

Space flights and rocketry could be the ultimate status symbol among the Silicon Valley crowd. Game designer Richard Garriott , the son of an astronaut, is set to journey to the International Space Station on October 12, according to Space Adventures. Google co-founder Sergey Brin is also a Space Adventures client --over the summer, he plopped down $5 million to book a blastoff.

And over the weekend, entrepreneur Elon Musk was finally able to celebrate after getting a cargo-carrying rocket into orbit. Three previous attempts had failed.

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About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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