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Billionaire Space Tourist’s Landing Delayed a Day

Billionaire Space Tourist’s Landing Delayed a Day
U.S. spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi, the world's first repeat space tourist, floats in the Harmony node of the International Space Station during his 2009 spaceflight.
(Image: © NASA)

This story was updated at 5:50 p.m. EDT.

Americanbillionaire Charles Simonyi will return to Earth from the International SpaceStation a day later than planned next week due to flooding at his Russian spacecraft?slanding site, NASA officials said Friday.

Simonyi,the world?sfirst repeat space tourist, and two professional astronauts are now slated toland their Soyuz spacecraft on the barren Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstanon Wednesday at 3:15 a.m. EDT (0715 GMT). They will touch down southeast oftheir initial landing zone, NASA officials said.

?Because ofthe soggy conditions at the original landing site, we switched to a moresoutherly landing site in Kazakhstan,? NASA spokesperson Katherine Trinidadtold SPACE.com from the agency?s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

The landingdelay gives Simonyi, 60, a free extra day in space and extends his mission to13 days, one day shy of the world record for longest space tourist flight. Simonyiset that record in 2007, when his first flight to the space station wasextended by two days.

Simonyi, aHungary-born software developer, is paying about $35 million for his secondflight to the space station under an agreement between Russia?s Federal SpaceAgency and the Virginia-based space tourism firm Space Adventures. He is making the seventh private spaceflight to orbit, and also made the fifth when hefirst flew in April 2007.

Earlierthis week, Simonyi said his spaceflight has been a whirlwind of work. Like onhis previous flight, he has packed his mission with science experiments andeducational events to speak with schoolchildren for space.

?We arejust so busy,? Simonyi told reporters Wednesday via a space-to-ground video link.?I volunteered for a lot of work and I?m accomplishing that work.?

Simonyilaunched to the space station on March 26 with the outpost?s new Expedition 19crew. He arrived two days later and will land with the station?s outgoing crew:Expedition 18 commander Michael Fincke of NASA and Russian cosmonaut YuryLonchakov. Fincke and Lonchakov are completing a six-month mission aboard thestation.

The threespaceflyers are now targeting a landing zone near the Kazakh town ofDzhezkazgan, about 186 miles (300 km) southeastof their original site, NASA officials said.

?They?vebeen looking at the weather there for several days and just decided it would bebetter to move farther south,? NASA spokesperson Kelly Humphries told SPACE.comfrom the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Simonyi maybe the last space tourist to visit the International Space Station forseveral years due to the lack of available seats for sale once the outpostreaches its full six-person crew, Russian space agency officials have said.

Spacetourist Charles Simonyi is chronicling his second spaceflight on his website:www.charlesinspace.com.

  • New Video - Charles Simonyi: World's 1st Repeat Space Tourist
  • New Video - Expedition 19: Priming ISS for Larger Crew
  • Image Gallery - Charles in Space!

 

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