Richard Garriott to become first second-generation astrounat

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MOSCOW, Sep 28 (UNI) US computer game developer Richard Garriott is the first second-generation astronaut and sixth space tourist to travel into space, Space Adventures tour agency said.

The British-born developer of the Ultima computer game series, whose father is former NASA astronaut, would be taken to the International Space Station on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in October 2008, Ria Novosti quoted the company as saying.

US-based Space Adventures Ltd, the only company currently providing opportunities for space tourism, said Garriott had begun preparations for the flight. The company charged around 20 million dollars per Russian-organised private trip to space.

Space Adventures Ltd said, ''Garriott plans to team up with a research agency and carry out scientific experiments on the ISS, will become the first in a series of 'commercially-active' space tourists.'' Dennis Tito, an American businessman and former NASA scientist, was the first space tourist to visit the ISS in 2001 followed by South African computer millionaire Mark Shuttleworth in 2002, Gregory Olsen, US entrepreneur and scientist, in 2005, Anousheh Ansari (40) US citizen of Iranian origin and a telecommunications businesswoman, in 2006.

Of late Simonyi (58) US citizen of Hungarian descent and a key figure in developing Microsoft's Word and Excel applications constitute the space tourist list for 2007.

The space tourists had paid about 20 million dollars each for the the week's adventure on the orbital station, but Russia said the price for commercial space flights would go up in the future, reaching up to 25 million dollars.

Meanwhile Russia had unveiled plans to send up its own first space tourist -- a 40-year-old grocery tycoon and parliamentary deputy, Vladimir Gruzdev, who may fly to the ISS in September 2008 or March 2009.

UNI

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