Once is Not Enough

Sep 30, 2008 1:39pm

There are those of us who worry about the economic situation, and there are those who don’t have to.  Charles Simonyi, the computer engineer who oversaw the development of Microsoft Word and other programs, bought himself a seat on a space flight in 2007 — and now Space Adventures, the company that arranged it, says he’s signed up to go again. Barring delays (a hazard of this business) Simonyi would get his second flight next spring.  He’s in line behind Richard Garriott, the video-game entrepreneur, who’s scheduled to be launched in a Soyuz spacecraft to the space station on Oct. 12.  Simonyi’s personal website from his first flight is still to be found HERE. When he flew last year, there was a lot of fun press about his long-time friendship with Martha Stewart, who went to the launch and sent a better-than-your-average-space-food meal along.  He’s since been reported to be engaged to Lisa Persdotter, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire. Simonyi got into computers when he was in high school in his native Hungary, working as a night watchman at a mainframe installation.  If you’re familiar with WYSIWYG computer programs (What You See Is What You Get), it because he and his colleagues made them work.  In 2006 Forbes listed him as #374 on the list of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of $1.0 billion.  He does not appear on this year’s list, though the reported $25 million he spent on his first space flight is probably not the reason.  Does he get a package deal on a second flight?  Space Adventures doesn’t make such things public.

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