April 6, 2007

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Microsoft Word Creator Headed for Space Station

I've always thought that the guy who invented Microsoft Word should be strapped to a rocket and fired into space. Now, it seems, I'm about to get my wish.

It looks like 58-year old software billionaire Charles Simonyi - who led the development of Microsoft Word - will be fulfilling his life's ambition very soon as he prepares to blast off for the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyez spacecraft.

"Are we there yet?" - Charles Simonyi does his Superman impression while training for zero gravity

He paid $20 million for the honour of being the 450th human in orbit - mere pocket change to a man with his staggering wealth. The money could, of course, have been spent on more worthy causes. But that could be said of most of the money that most of us waste on chocolate peanut butter and 4-wheel drive cars to go take the kids to school in and attractive-but-entirely-pointless water features for our gardens.

SpaceShipOne didn't come out of a cereal packet, actually

And maybe in 5 years time many of us will be able to see the Earth from space for a mere 0.1% of what Simonyi has spent on this trip, thanks to companies like Virgin Galactic. Is it a coincidence that the first privately-funded spaceflight was bankrolled by another Microsoft billionaire, namely Paul Allen who co-founded the company? Allen invested about $25 million in SpaceShipOne, which managed to take the X-Prize in 2004.
Posted 13 years, 8 months ago on April 6, 2007