Flight of the Billionaires

Another rich guy joins the local space race.

Anyone who felt outer space was a good place to keep rich people now has the support of rich people. Billionaire and ex-Microsoft exec Charles Simonyi announced yesterday he's scheduled to be launched into orbit next March aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He'll have a week-long stopover on the International Space Station before rejoining we earthlings and his money back on terra firma. He follows Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Amazon's Jeff Bezos as billionaire space cadets - Allen being the money behind the Richard Branson/Burt Rutan SpaceShipOne commercial space flight effort while Bezos plans a Texas spaceport from which to also launch commercial suborbital flights under the Blue Origin name. Simonyi, by the way, will soon be blogging on pre-blast off preparations - training in Star City, Russia, and what it's like to wear a space suit. "I'll even outline my plans to start the first library in space," he says in a current entry. He's already indicated what one of the first books will be: Robert Heinlein's sci-fi novel, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress." It's about a lunar penal colony's revolt against its earthly rulers, not a statement about our lovable tavern.

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