http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1945000/1945950.stm [Mark Shuttleworth for those that place his name, but can't remember why, is the founder of Thawte which was recently acquired by VeriSign, not bad for a guy who started running things out of his parents garage back in 1996. - WK] 25 April, 2002 The world's second space tourist has blasted off into orbit. The South African internet millionaire Mark Shuttleworth is headed for a short stay at the International Space Station (ISS). His 10-day trip has reportedly cost him $20m (£14m) - a figure similar to that paid by the first orbital tourist, America's Dennis Tito. Mr Shuttleworth's Soyuz-TM34 rocket lifted clear of the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0626 GMT. Also on board are the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko, the mission commander, and Italian flight engineer Roberto Vittori. Their primary task is to replace the vehicle on the ISS that would act as a "lifeboat" if there were ever to be catastrophic problem on the platform. American agreement Mark Shuttleworth - who is the first African to go into space - has paid the cash-strapped Russian space agency for his ticket. The millionaire has had to undergo extensive training for his trip. He has even learnt Russian to aid communication with mission controllers in Moscow, Russia. Unlike Dennis Tito, he flies with the blessing of the American space agency (Nasa), which has now warmed to the idea of civilians going to the orbital outpost. Nasa has agreed guidelines with its international partners on how tourists should be handled. "I am absolutely delighted," Mr Tito said. "I'm delighted not only for Mark but for other people who will be able to also go up on these taxi missions with the co-operation of Nasa." Queue forming Mr Shuttleworth will be allowed to use space station laptops for e-mail after he arrives on Saturday and will have limited use of US communication systems to beam down video and photographs. He plans also to carry out a variety of science experiments. The Soyuz craft transporting Mr Shuttleworth and his two colleagues is expected to dock with the ISS on Saturday at 0757 GMT. The queue for the next tourist into space after the South African is already forming. Twenty-three-year-old Lance Bass of the pop group 'N Sync has declared his interest. So too, has Lori Garver, a 40-year-old former Nasa official who is seeking sponsors to cover the cost of the trip. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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