Richard Garriott, a game developer known for creating the multiplayer online game Ultima, will be the sixth private citizen to take a ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station in October 2008. And in a way, he will follow in his father's footsteps, but without the NASA credentials. Garriott's dad is former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, who flew to the first U.S. space station Skylab in the '70s.
Garriott will fly with Vienna, Va.-based Space Adventures, a space tourism company that offers flights to ISS for between $25 million and $30 million. But because of a weakened dollar, the cost of the trips will go as high as $40 million in 2009.
Garriott will be one of Space Adventures' first "commercial" tourists, meaning that he will help conduct science experiments on behalf of a private company during his travels. So far, Space Adventures has flown five private citizens, including former Microsoft researcher Charles Simonyi, to the ISS. But this will be the first in a series that welcomes research projects from private companies. Biotech company ExtremoZyme, which was co-founded by Owen Garriott, will conduct a protein experiment on the trip, for example.
Garriott said he's dedicating his spaceflight to science. "We need to be adventurous in mind and simulate our intellects to answer today's most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow's technological marvels."
Garriott plans to update a Web site with photos and stories about his trip and will answer questions.