Spaceflight mission will mark longest duration for a private citizen

Vienna, Va. – April 7, 2007 — Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company, announced today that their orbital client, Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., and his crew successfully launched aboard a Soyuz TMA spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bound for the International Space Station (ISS). Dr. Simonyi joins the Expedition 15 crew which includes Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov for his 13-day mission.

“I consider my mission to be a small part of an important trend to make space accessible to more people.  I hope to share my mission with many others through my Web site,, which I will continue to update during my time on the ISS,” said software pioneer and aviator, Dr. Simonyi.  “I feel very lucky to be the world’s fifth civilian space traveler and I am very thankful to Space Adventures for providing me with this opportunity.”

Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the company which organized the spaceflights for the world’s first and only private space explorers, said, “Through his efforts of creating perhaps the most widely used software business applications ever, Microsoft Word and Excel, Charles has changed the scope of productivity around the world.  As he launches today, on his own personal space adventure, he will advance the space tourism industry toward its destiny with the same inevitability that he helped move computers from a room in a government lab to desks in millions of offices and homes around the world.” In preparation for his spaceflight with Space Adventures, Dr. Simonyi completed a cosmonaut training program at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center located in Star City, Russia.  During his 10-day stay aboard the ISS, Dr. Simonyi will assist several international space agencies by conducting experiments, communicate with hundreds of high school students via HAM radio signal in cooperation with Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) and celebrate Cosmonautics Day by presenting a gourmet meal to the space station crew.

While on the ISS, Dr. Simonyi will continue to share his experiences on a daily basis through his Web site, The site’s new “Live Mission Coverage” section will feature live video from NASA TV, as well as Dr. Simonyi’s personal video and audio recordings direct from space.  Dr. Simonyi will also continue to blog while in orbit and answer questions posed by visitors to his site.  Additionally, on the site’s special “Kids’ Space” section, children of all ages will be able to listen in on his Amateur Radio contacts with schools across the United States. 

Dr. Simonyi’s mission to the ISS is the latest destination in a life defined by exploration and discovery. Born in Budapest, Charles Simonyi earned his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University. From 1972 to 1980, Dr. Simonyi worked at Xerox Corporation’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He left PARC to join Microsoft Corporation, where Dr. Simonyi held the titles of Director of Application Development, Chief Architect and Distinguished Engineer.

In August of 2002, Dr. Simonyi left Microsoft and founded Intentional Software Corporation, a software engineering company focused on improving the way organizations write software.  He then founded the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences in 2003 to support arts organizations, science programs and educational institutions. Dr. Simonyi is a trained pilot in multi-engine aircraft with current licenses in jets and helicopters and more than 2,000 hours of flying time.

Space Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private explorers to space, is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as the availability today for spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company’s advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker, Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev.  For more information, please visit