Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tourist Returns from Space

Back from space holding the "all is well" mudra

Thirty million dollars later, American tourist in space returns home safely from 10 days in the Akasha Deva Loka ("sky being sphere"), in Buddhist terms, otherwise referred to as the International Space Station. Fortunately, he had sponsors for whom he conducted some experiments. He is one of only to men, both on this trip, to follow his father (a former astronaut) into space 35 years after the elder did some of the same photographing and mapping of the earth's surface. Texan Richard Garriott, 47, says he is "glad to be home" back on earth. Two Russian cosmonauts brought him down, landing in Kazakhstan.
Akasha Deva Loka: International Space Station in low orbit
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Space tourist Richard Garriott's orbital vacation ended Friday as a Soyuz capsule carrying him and two cosmonauts landed safely in north-central Kazakhstan. Space tourist Richard Garriott returned to Earth on Friday after a 10-day visit to the International Space Station.

Garriott, who made millions of dollars in the video game industry, spent the past 10 days aboard the International Space Station, for which he paid the Russian government an estimated $30 million. Garriott said the flight was a fulfillment of his dream to follow in the footsteps of his father, former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott. The elder Garriott flew on the second U.S. Skylab mission in 1973, a forerunner of the International Space Station.

"What a great ride that was," said Garriott in comments reported by The Associated Press. "This is obviously a pinnacle experience." Garriott has said he hoped to make his spaceflight a commercial success by conducting protein crystal growth experiments for a biotech company co-founded by his father. Garriott was also paid to wear a watch to test its performance in microgravity. Garriott was the sixth private citizen to buy a ticket to the space station from the Russian government.

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