Press Release

Space Adventures’ Orbital Spaceflight Candidate, Greg Olsen, Confirmed to the Soyuz TMA-7 Crew

By SpaceRef Editor
July 27, 2005
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Space Adventures’ Orbital Spaceflight Candidate, Greg Olsen, Confirmed to the Soyuz TMA-7 Crew

Third private space explorer scheduled to launchto the International Space Station this October

Space Adventures®, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company, announced today that American technology entrepreneur Gregory Olsen, Ph.D. has been confirmed to the Soyuz TMA-7 crew which is currently planned for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 1 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  Dr. Olsen will be joining the 12th Expedition Crew which will also include NASA astronaut William McArthur and cosmonaut Valery Tokarev.

Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the company which organized the spaceflights for the world’s first private space explorers, American businessman Dennis Tito and the “First African in Space” Mark Shuttleworth, said, “I am extremely pleased that Greg has been named to the Soyuz TMA-7 crew.  He is in the process of completing the cosmonaut training program, and as declared by the Russian space agency, he’s in excellent condition and we enthusiastically look forward to his launch.”

Dr. Olsen, chairman of the Board of Directors and co-founder of Sensors Unlimited, Inc., Princeton, N.J., commented, “I have been committed to this orbital mission ever since Space Adventures announced my candidacy last year.  Since then, I have completed over 500 hours of cosmonaut training at Star City and am excited to finish my preparations.  I also look forward to finalizing the components of my remote sensing and astronomy research projects that I plan to conduct while aboard the space station.”

“We are pleased to confirm Dr. Olsen as a member of the next Soyuz crew.  His determination and dedication to this mission should be seen as highly commendable and respected by the entire space community,” stated Anatoly Perminov, chief of the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA).  “Dr. Olsen will be the first space tourist launched since the Columbia tragedy; we look forward to many future private missions.”

Last year, several weeks into his training program, Dr. Olsen underwent a routine medical evaluation in which a health condition was detected that prohibited him from continuing his training.  The condition has since been remedied, and, after a re-evaluation, Dr. Olsen received clearance on May 14, 2005 to resume his cosmonaut training.  The back-up Soyuz TMA-7 crew for the mission includes Sergey Kostenko, Alexander Lazutkin and Jeff Williams.

Dr. Olsen, born in 1945 in Brooklyn, N.Y., was raised in a working class family.  His father was an electrician and his mother a schoolteacher.  He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s of science and master’s degree in physics.  He then went on to graduate from the University of Virginia with a doctorate in materials science.  From 1972 to 1983, he worked at RCA Laboratories, now known as the Sarnoff Corporation.  In 1984, Dr. Olsen started his first company, Epitaxx and later sold it for $12 million (USD).  He founded Sensors Unlimited, Inc. in 1992, later sold it for $700 million (USD) in 2000.  Sensors Unlimited develops highly sensitive near-infrared cameras. 

Space Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private space explorers to the International Space Station, is headquartered in Arlington, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as Zero-Gravity and MiG flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company’s advisory board comprises Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Robert (Hoot) Gibson, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker and Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott.  For more information, please visit To learn more about Dr. Olsen’s orbital mission, please visit  

SpaceRef staff editor.