Millionaut Simonyi: I Wouldn’t Invest in Space Tourism

Charles Simonyi has been out and about promoting his upcoming flight to the International Space Station. This will be the second trip orbital joyride for the Microsoft engineer-turned-space-tourist.

Simonyi tells Popular Science why he’s going up again and what he will be doing there:

“I visited Star City a number of times after the first flight and I was just inspired by talking to the people who have been up there multiple times, especially Sergei Krikalyov, who has logged more than 800 days in space. I had this idea that maybe I’d like to go again, and when the opportunity came, I seized on it….

“[The experiments] are not my own; they are experiments that need to get done but fall to me because the astronauts’ time is so valuable. Some of the experiments are truly simple, and I am more of a subject than an active participant. But you can do a lot of good medical research just by people looking at your bones before and after the flight to see if there is bone loss. Osteoporosis and the causes and effects can be researched because in space it is much worse, much accelerated. As you know, the more data points the scientists have, the better the results. So just volunteering to be a subject is in itself a contribution.”

In a separate interview with Jeff Foust, Simonyi explained his views toward the space tourism industry and his future plans:

While he believes in the potential of space tourism, he’s not interested in putting his money into any of the ventures in this market: “I’m not an investor, I’m a customer.”

Asked if this would be his last flight into space, he said he promised his wife that he would not fly again—at least for a long time. “Maybe in 20 years it will be so common we’ll do it together.”