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March 19, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Spaceflight 2.0: Simonyi shares agenda, extraterrestrial contact info

Medina software pioneer Charles Simonyi today shared the “mission objectives” for his March 26 trip to the International Space Station, the first repeat trip for a private space tourist.

Also released were the Web sites where Simonyi will blog from space, share photos and communicate with students and others following his 12-day adventure.

“I’m honored to return to the ISS and excited to conduct scientific experiments for the European Space Agency and for other national space organizations. I also hope my mission inspires young people all over the world to pursue science and engineering careers,” he said in the release, issued by trip organizer Space Adventures.

Simonyi will travel on a Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a crew including Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian space agency and NASA Flight Engineer Michael Barratt, a UW graduate from Vancouver, Wash.

charles.JPG (At left: Simonyi at the end of his 2007 trip, in an AFP/Getty Images photo by Sergie Ilnitsky)

Simonyi will use TERC‘s Windows on Earth software to help take pictures of earth. (A natural choice for the former Microsoft chief software architect …)

From earth, people can view earth from Simonyi’s perspective via the Windows on Earth site.

Simonyi will again communicate with students via HAM radio with help from the Amateur Radio on the ISS organization.

He’ll also be posting updates to, the educational Web site developed for his 2007 trip. He’ll blog from space, answer questions submitted to the site and share audio recordings from space and live video from NASA TV.

When he’s not chatting with students or enjoying the view, Simonyi will do a series of experiments.

Working with European Space Agency researchers, Simonyi will participate in a study of the physical impact of spaceflight on cosmonauts and astronauts through early detection of osteoporosis in space. He’ll also work wtih ESA on a study of the occurrence and development of low back pain during spaceflight.

Working the Hungarian Space Office and the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation, he’ll measure and monitor radiation on the ISS using a dosimeter, called PILLE-MKS, the release said. He participated in the same research into the long-term health effects of galactic and solar cosmic radiation during his 2007 trip to the station.

This is part of a project generating a map of the station’s radiation enviroment, which will help design better spacecraft shielding.

Comments | More in | Topics: Billionaire techies, Charles Simonyi, NASA


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