Press Release

Space Adventures’ Orbital Spaceflight Client Charles Simonyi Returns to Earth after Completing Second Mission to the International Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
April 8, 2009
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Space Adventures’ Orbital Spaceflight Client Charles Simonyi Returns to Earth after Completing Second Mission to the  International Space Station

Simonyi Made History as the First Repeat Private Space Explorer

Vienna, Va. – April 8, 2009 — Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, today announced that its client Charles Simonyi and his crew successfully landed in the Kazakhstan steppes after a visit to the International Space Station (ISS). Simonyi returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft with Expedition 18 crewmembers Michael Fincke and Yuri Lonchokov, who both spent six months aboard the orbiting outpost.

Dr. Simonyi made history 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 client.

“With my second mission, I did much more work, but I was also able to rest and relax. I was physically more prepared and more comfortable given the resources that I brought with me,” said Charles Simonyi. “I am very happy to have made the decision to fly again.”

During his stay aboard the space station, Dr. Simonyi focused on educational outreach and research:

  • He communicated with hundreds of students via HAM radio signal in cooperation with Amateur Radio on the ISS.
  • On behalf of the European Space Agency, Dr. Simonyi performed a series of experiments, including the study of the physical impact of spaceflight on cosmonauts and astronauts through Early Detection of Osteoporosis in Space and the study of the occurrence and development of Low Back Pain during spaceflight.
  • Working closely with the Hungarian Space Office and the Russian space agency, Dr. Simonyi measured and monitored radiation on the ISS using a dosimeter. He participated in this experiment on his first mission and the results of the project will be helpful in designing better spacecraft shielding for future crews.
  • Dr. Simonyi also used Windows on Earth software, developed by TERC, to assist him in photographing our planet.

Dr. Simonyi shared his experiences daily through his Web site, The site features video clips from NASA TV, as well as Dr. Simonyi’s audio recordings direct from space. He also blogged while in orbit and answered questions posed by visitors to his site.

About Charles Simonyi

Dr. Simonyi’s return 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. Dr. Simonyi learned computer programming early in life, which would shape his professional career for decades and enable him to achieve his entrepreneurial dreams. 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.

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 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, New Jersey, among others.

He is a trained pilot in multi-engine aircraft and instrument flying, currently holding licenses for 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 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. In 2012, Space Adventures plans to launch the first private mission to the ISS. This private spaceflight will be a fully dedicated mission of the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft with two seats available, along with a comprehensive package of services including science, education and media program options. 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. For more information, please visit

SpaceRef staff editor.