Space Tourist Hopeful Resumes Training for ISS Spaceflight

Japan Embraces Space Tourism
Greg Olsen sits in the cockpit of a Russian jet. (Image credit: Space Adventures)

An American entrepreneurwith aspirations of reaching the International Space Station (ISS) has onceagain begun training for a tourist trip to the orbital facility.

Greg Olsen, head of the Princeton,New Jersey-based optics company Sensors Ltd., resumed spaceflight training onMay 14 in Russia'sStarCity for an ISS-boundspaceflight brokered by the space tourism firm Space Adventures. He has aboutthree more months of training to complete, Space Adventures officials said.

A specific launch date hasnot been announced, but Olsen had originally hoped to launch toward the ISSalongside the Expedition 11 crew in April 2005. Italian astronaut RobertoVittori, of the European Space Agency, filled that open seat under an agreementwith Russia'sFederal Space Agency and returned to Earth eight days later. The next mannedSoyuz flight will carry Expedition 12 to the ISS is currently set for Sept. 27.

Olsen is slated to be thethird paying space tourist to the ISS following the successful flights ofDennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth in 2001 and 2002, respectively.  Thespaceflights of both Tito and Shuttleworth were also brokered by Arlington,Virginia-based Space Adventures.

Olsen originally began trainingfor his ISS spaceflight in April 2004, but cut short his preparations when anundisclosed medical condition disqualified him for launch.

That health condition hassince been remedied, allowing Olson to pick up his training regime where heleft off, Space Adventures spokesperson Stacey Tearne told

"He has remained socommitted to the program," Tearne said of Olsen.

In an earlier interviewOlson told that he plans to pay about $20 million for thespaceflight, which would launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft and include eightdays in orbit, six of them aboard the ISS. The potential space tourist alsostated his intent to conduct optics experiments with infrared cameras and studycrystal growth while in orbit.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.