Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville peace talks suspended

Read more

ENCORE!

High-tech acting king Andy Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Read more

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza: children caught up in the conflict

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Was the UN chief’s speech in Tel Aviv really a 'shameful message'?

Read more

  • Live: Pro-Palestinian protest staged in Paris under tight security

    Read more

  • UN human rights chief blasts Israel-Gaza ‘war crimes’

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

  • Poland’s Rafal Majka wins 17th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Remains of Flight MH17 victims arrive in the Netherlands

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • TransAsia Airways Taiwan crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

Russian Soyuz capsule with tourist docks at space station

Video by Oliver FARRY

Latest update : 2009-03-28

Hungarian-born US billionaire Charles Simonyi has become the first person to have gone into space twice as a tourist. The 60-year-old blasted off in a Russian rocket that arrived at the International Space Station.

AFP - A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying second-time space tourist Charles Simonyi along with a US and a Russian astronaut docked Saturday at the International Space Station, media reports quoted the control centre near Moscow as saying.
   
Spokesman Valery Lyndin told Interfax news agency that checks would be made to ensure there were no leaks in the airlock between the capsule and the space station before the crews of the two vessels joined up.
   
He said the automatic docking procedure had not worked and the docking had been done manually, while adding that this was not exceptional.
   
He expected the Soyuz crew to enter the ISS around 1610 GMT, three hours after docking.
   
US software pioneer Simonyi, 60, is the first person to travel twice into space as a tourist, having paid 35 million dollars (28 million euros) for the voyage.
   
He previously travelled to the space station in April 2007, becoming one of a select group of wealthy civilians, most of them from the United States, to have pioneered space tourism.
   
The professional spacemen on the flight are Russian Gennady Padalka, who is to become the space station's commander, and American Michael Barratt, who takes over as flight engineer.
   
The launch comes as Moscow is doubling the number of manned space launches to meet the needs of the expanding space station, with a second launch due in May.
   
The head of Russian space agency Rosksomos, Anatoly Perminov, said that for a period it could be the last time a space tourist would be taken on board due to increased demand on the programme, but had high praise for Russian-US space cooperation.
   
Simonyi's trip to space was the seventh by a space tourist since the programme was launched by Roskosmos and US firm Space Adventures in 2001.
   
But plans to raise the number of crew for the ISS from three to six from May, meaning there will no longer be a spare seat for a tourist on future missions.

Date created : 2009-03-28

COMMENT(S)