Press Release

Simonyi Makes History as First Private Explorer to Return to Space

By SpaceRef Editor
February 14, 2009
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Simonyi Makes History as First Private Explorer to Return to Space

Vienna, Va. – Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that its seventh orbital client, Charles Simonyi, Ph.D., has begun training for his upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Dr. Simonyi will make history during his spaceflight by becoming the first private explorer to complete a second mission to space. He previously flew to the ISS in spring 2007 as Space Adventures’ fifth orbital space client. The launch is scheduled for March 26, 2009.

Dr. Simonyi will travel onboard the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft with Expedition 19 crewmembers. In preparation for his spaceflight, Dr. Simonyi will complete a cosmonaut-training program at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center located in Star City, Russia. The training program will include physical training and medical check-ups, as well as refresher courses on all of the technical aspects related to the mission.

A leading software pioneer and aviator, Dr. Simonyi’s passion for flight, engineering and space exploration inspired his second mission to space. During his 12-day stay aboard the ISS, Dr. Simonyi will focus on research and educational outreach. Efforts will include conducting scientific experiments in space, taking pictures of the Earth and talking with students around the world via HAM Radio.

“My first mission introduced me to the extraordinary experience of orbital spaceflight. Space exploration is so important to humanity, that to have been able to participate in it, even in a very small way, was such a privilege. Returning to space for a second time is a great opportunity to put to use what I have learned,” said Dr. Simonyi. “I hope to use my return mission to inspire young people all over the world to pursue science and engineering and to continue communicate the idea that space will become more and more accessible.”

Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures said, “We are proud to assist Charles in realizing his second journey to the ISS; his mission is a true testament to the reality of private space exploration. Charles’ initiatives onboard the ISS are a very important effort. As we progress, private space explorers will not only assist in educational and scientific research, but support the advancement of the space industry.”

About Charles Simonyi

Dr. Simonyi’s goals for his spaceflight are to advance civilian space travel, assist with space station research, and involve young people in the science of space travel. His Web site,, will interest space enthusiasts of all ages. Throughout the next several months, He will share pictures and experiences on the site, giving visitors unique insights into his mission every step of the way.

Dr. Simonyi’s mission to the ISS is the latest destination in a life defined by exploration and discovery. Born in Budapest, he had a passion for science, math, technology and space at a very young age. Thanks to his father, a professor of electrical engineering, Dr. Simonyi learned computer programming early in life, which would shape his professional career for decades and enable him to achieve his entrepreneurial dreams. Simultaneously, he took a path that would lead him to realize his second dream, spaceflight. At the age of 13, Dr. Simonyi represented Hungary as a junior Cosmonaut and won a trip to Moscow to meet one of the first Cosmonauts, Pavel Popovich. He also became a trained pilot in multi-engine aircraft, currently holds licenses in jets and helicopters, and has logged more than 2,000 hours of flying time. In 2007, he became the fifth private citizen to travel into space.

Dr. 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, leading the development of Microsoft Word and Excel. In August of 2002, Dr. Simonyi left Microsoft and founded Intentional Software Corporation, an 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, and science institutions, such as the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, among others. Dr. Simonyi is married to Lisa Persdotter who worked in asset management and marketing.

About Space Adventures

Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers, is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with an office in Moscow. 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/Shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev.

SpaceRef staff editor.