Hidden Nook

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Third Space Tourist To Visit Space Station

[Media Source*]

(Space.com) U.S. scientist Greg Olsen, who will become the world's third paying passenger to catch a ride to the International Space Station, said Tuesday he hopes to do some research in optics and medicine while in orbit and has no anxieties about his mission.

"I don't view it as a risk at all," said Olsen, who is set to blast off in a Russian Soyuz ship with Russian Valery Tokarev and U.S. astronaut William McArthur from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 1.

Greg Olsen (who is 60) is flying with Space Adventures, and will spend about a week aboard the space station, and is now able to fly after a delay due to health concerns from an unspecified medical ailment (which has now cleared up). Olsen has invited some of his family and friends at the launch site in order for them to see him blast off. Russia (via Space Adventures) seems to be solidifying it's lead in the space tourism sector, as America has yet to produce a company that is able to launch its own citizens into space.

(Space.com) The cash-strapped Russian space program has sought to supplement scarce government funding with revenues from space tourism. California businessman Dennis Tito paid the Russian space agency about US$20 million for a weeklong trip to the international space station in 2001, and South African Mark Shuttleworth followed suit a year later.

Olsen was able to fund the trip through a small fortune he acquired from developing infrared imaging cameras and fiber-optic communications components as well as a host of other optic inventions. Olsen owns a company called Sensors Unlimited Inc. in New Jersey which he helped co-found. Although Olsen's trip may seem like another "deja vu space visit" by an American tourist, his future launch will hopefully revive the chatter about space travel outside of governmental assistance and hopefully bring humanity one step closer towards leaving his earthen cradle.

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By Darnell Clayton • 9:49 PM • Email Post • •


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