Press Release

Space Adventures’ Orbital Spaceflight Client Charles Simonyi Successfully Launches to the International Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
March 26, 2009
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Space Adventures’ Orbital Spaceflight Client Charles Simonyi Successfully Launches to the International Space Station

Simonyi Makes History as He Commences His Second Space Mission

Vienna, Va. – March 26, 2009 – Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, today announced that its orbital client Charles Simonyi and his crew successfully launched aboard a Soyuz-TMA spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan en route to the International Space Station (ISS). Simonyi joins the Expedition 19 crew, which includes Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Mike Barratt.

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 client. On his return mission, Dr. Simonyi aims to continue to make contributions toward space research, and advance civilian space travel while inspiring kids in their studies of science and math.

“We applaud Charles on his continued commitment and investment to commercial spaceflight. Having a repeat orbital client demonstrates to the world that participating in a space mission is truly a magnificent and awe-inspiring experience,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures. “Charles is an inspiration and it has been a pleasure and an honor to assist him in living his dream, twice!”

Space Adventures became world renowned eight years ago with the launch of client Dennis Tito, the world’s first privately funded spaceflight participant. Since then, the company has launched five other individuals to space, including Dr. Simonyi. In 2011, Space Adventures will launch the first private mission to the ISS with its long-standing partner, the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation. This private spaceflight will be a fully dedicated mission of the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft with two seats available for private space explorers, along with a comprehensive package of mission services including science, education and media program options.

About Charles Simonyi
Dr. Simonyi will share his spaceflight experiences on a daily basis through his Web site, The site’s “Follow the Updates” section features live video from NASA TV, as well as Dr. Simonyi’s audio recordings direct from space. Dr. Simonyi will also continue to blog while on the space station and answer questions posed by visitors to his site. Students can participate in his mission by taking an online Kids’ Quiz.

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. 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, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.