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The Almighty Buck

Another Space Tourist For Russia 66

Michael Wallis writes: "Just saw a story on AllNews.ru (in English) announcing South African Internet millionaire Mark Shuttleworth is in training to be the second space tourist. This just two days after the head of the Russian space program said in Quebec that there would be no more tourists to ISS until 2006. Guess Mark will just fly a Soyez to orbit for a few days."
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Another Space Tourist In Training

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  • They interviewed Mark on the radio here in SA the other day and he said the place is packed with American also training to go into space. So it looks like Dennis Tito won't be the only American forgoing NASA to get into space.
    Skip
    --------------------
  • When will the stupid Fcks in the US Government realize there are hundreds of thousands of people who would pay just about anything to get into space, even if only for a few minutes! I admit, I am one...and I personally know hundreds of others.

    So, we have the Russians taking advantage of this,and NASA choosing bad shuttle replacement technology, then scrapping the program...and a huge market just waiting to be opened up! Ask an around about how much something that has been in space is worth. Every shuttle crew that goes up has a personal allowence for each member, and many times they take up stuff to re-sell for thousands of dollars stuff that only cost tens of dollars.

    Then we get NASA and the US Government refusing to allow private launches so that people have to go off-shore to launch to try to claim the X Prize!!! ARRGGHHH!!!

    ttyl
    Farrell
  • NASA is acting like a country club being forced by court order to alow women and minorities to join.

    The tourists are PROVING that all that "required special training" is just part of a bullshit elitist attitude by NASA if inflate their own egos.

    The real experts are the ones on the ground who build the station, and the shuttle that flew it up there.

    Astronauts are little more than hired manual labor, that need to radio to Houston when they need to know how to do something.

  • It's certainly possible that, if they're not starting with someone who already has a clue, it will actually take 5 years to train them enough to put them on a spacecraft. So, just because this was announced now doesn't mean they won't put him on the ISS when it's done in 2006.

    In any case, assuming someday space travel becomes a part of everyday life, it will be important to know how people who aren't specially selected to go into space have to be prepared, so this is, additionally, important research.
  • On a 747, they train you how to deal with an emergency before takeoff. In a spacecraft, I imagine the procedures are a bit more complicated. Even if everything goes well, the safety procedures are much more important (in a 747, you'll get a sore neck if you stare out the window during takeoff; doing the wrong thing during launch would certainly be much worse).

    Assuming you're going to do much of anything when you're up there, you'll need to be trained for it. On a 747, you generally are just trying to get somewhere; if you're going to be in space for a bit, you're going to have to know how to move around without gravity without crashing into things, how to eat and drink, and so forth. On a 747, things behave much like they do on the ground.

    I don't really think anyone would sign up for a trip into space where they'll spend the entire time strapped into their seat out of the way. Especially because that's a rather long time to not get to go to the bathroom.
  • Back when Thawte was new, Shuttleworth used Debian and might also have been a Debian developer. I remember corresponding with him via email.

    Bruce

  • by szo ( 7842 )
    Shuttleworth?!
    And the russians still didn't notice this is going to be a practical joke of the week?
    :)

    Szo
  • Check out http://perens.com, his personal website. He's still doing useful stuff for the community.

    Go you big red fire engine!
  • wow.. a local celeb.. =)

    Bruce, what are you up to now-a-days?? I read your articles in Embedded Linux Journal (they were good)... are you still doing Debian development?

    -Andy
  • by grub ( 11606 )

    I don't recall any space tourists from Russia going up to MIR.

    Seems they have more faith in the new station rather than risking the loss of a citizen in the MIR tin can.

  • . . . if he's worth a shuttle, why's he going in a Soyuz? (-1, funny)

    --
  • "Africans should concentrate on more important things, like food and education."

    How blunt. Read again, it said "South African". Now read your history books. South Africa is not Ethiopia. South Africa is a country with it's own unique set of problems but very well a bunch of very strong (read: rich) assets.

    It's like putting people from Brazil and the USA in the same 'box' just because they come from the same continent. They are a world apart.
  • Not the same continent? All right. But woth are in "America". A person from Brazil is as much an American as a person from the U.S.A.

  • You're right. It's just like Disney, but then for really rich people. So you're rich, have a bunch of houses, two big yachts, lots of fast cars, lots of old cars, all the toys you want and you give generously to charity, then you go to space. Why not?

    All right, some might say that that money would better be spent giving more to charity. But I guess that's mostly because space travel is so very extravagant. But then again, wasn't flying and skiing too initially?

  • Russia will put anyone in space [incredible...ntures.com] (well at 80, 000 feet, not much air up there) for about somewhere around US$15 000 I think. I couldn't verify that, that's from memory. The will to do this is clearly present in Russia, and certainly not being blocked by their government. The standard-bearer of communism will probably the nation to open up space commercially.
  • You forgot "all your ISS are belong to RUS(sia)


    --Gfunk
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @06:21AM (#69471)
    You don't have to learn to fly a 747 to be a passenger in one, so why should a space tourist be any different? Obvuiously the risk level is different, but assuming he's signed appropriate waivers, then all they need to be assured of is that he isn't a whacko and wouldn't freak out in an emergency and endanger the other astronauts... which come to think of it is rather hard to guarantee if you don't have the military/astronaut discipline background...
  • IIRC, Mark Shuttleworth is the guy who set up Thawte, which he sold to Verisign for some gigantic sum.

    Anyone know what he's doing nowadays, apart from putting himself into orbit?
  • It's like putting people from Brazil and the USA in the same 'box' just because they come from the same continent. They are a world apart.

    (I love posting totally off topic things...)

    But Brazil and the USA aren't from the same continent. What were you saying?

    --

  • Africans should concentrate on more important things, like food and education.

    Yes, they should. However, Mark Shuttleworth is not your typical African. He is (like me), a educated South African of European ethnicity. And BTW, he has given some of his money to help educate poor-but-bright kids.

    Mark Shuttleworth is the guy who sold his company, Thawte, to Verisign for billions of US dollars, giving Verisign a near-monopoly on the digital signature market. Remember that? Hm, wonder if Verisign thinks it was a good deal now?

    If you believe in the capitalistic, entrepreneurial process, you should believe that the dosh is now Shuttleworth's to do with as he pleases, and if it doesn't feed the hungry, then that's not his problem. I doesn't matter where he lives or comes from - the internet is a global marketplace. You would not be saying that he has an obiligation as a rich individual to feed and clothe the poor if he hailed from California or London, would you, so why does geography to you matter now?

  • Oh wow, insulting someone from behind the Anonymous Coward account. Real mature, buddy.

    Even 'joke' posts deserve an informative response. Private wealth and social upliftment in Africa is an issue that deserves to be discussed seriously.

    En ek is Engels-sprekend. Fok die blerrie Afrikaaners

  • Ah, more insults from someone who hides behind anonymity. Really adult.


    I bet I even know what area in South Africa you're from....


    Well, you could have just clicked on my name, read my bio, and found out. BTW, you were wrong. Who's dumb now?

  • you wish you were from CT


    In 3 posts you have gone from criticising my point of view on the gounds that I must be stupid to write a serious reply to a 'joke' post, to calling me a liar.


    Now I get it - you are 12 years old. Tell your dad that you are not adult enough to use the internet yet. If you want to take this further, post your contact details, Mr Coward. Otherwise, this conversation is now over.

  • Anyone know what he's doing nowadays, apart from putting himself into orbit?
    • Investing in the education for poor-but-bright kids in South Africa
    • He has a new company called HBD (Here Be Dragons) focused on investing in IT in SA - ie Venture Capital
    • Changin his wardrobe from shorts & sandals to Armani suits - I kid you not
    • Trying to move his money out of SA into a first-world country with a stable currency. Again, I kid you not

  • Absolutely. But not only do they have to make sure that he understands emergency procedures and make sure that he's mentally capable (as the first poster suggested) for the flight, but they also have to make sure that he's physically capable. The multi-g conditions during the launch could very easily kill someone if the have some sort of physical problem. Somehow I don't think having passangers dying of heartattacks halfway up is a good way to drum up business.
  • >Then we get NASA and the US Government refusing
    >to allow private launches so that people have to
    >go off-shore to launch to try to claim the X
    >Prize!!!

    Actually, it's worse than that.

    The US government (NASA doesn't have anything to do with it) claims authority over all actions of its citizens, even when they aren't inside national boundaries.

    If you launched an X-Prize vehicle from another country or from international waters without getting FAA/AST clearance, you are still in trouble (and wouldn't be eligable for the prize).

    John Carmack

  • They should NOT work on food and education, but rather on Democracy, and the first thing one should do is excercise one's right to blow money....

    hehe.
  • You don't have to learn to fly a 747 to be a passenger in one, so why should a space tourist be any different? Obvuiously the risk level is different, but assuming he's signed appropriate waivers, then all they need to be assured of is that he isn't a whacko and wouldn't freak out in an emergency and endanger the other astronauts... which come to think of it is rather hard to guarantee if you don't have the military/astronaut discipline background...

    The situation is a little different than the case of a 747. When you are a passenger on a 747, they don't remove a crew member to make room for you. They also have someone there to help you in the event of an emergency (the flight attendents). In the space tourist case right now, the tourist will be going in place of someone who would otherwise have had duties. There will also be no one there to help him out in an emergency. I would imagine that a rather good understanding of what's going on around him will be desired. If something should come up, he may have to help out.

  • For some reason, everyone
    Is upset by attempts to
    Fix the financial difficulties of space
    Travel through tourism.
    Having thought about this, I've changed my mind.

    Practically every country with a space program
    Owes more than 60% of its GDP in government bonds.
    Some coincidence
    That is.

    (yes I know I missed it, but I didn't want to let this go to waste.)

    --

  • Too late, Pizza Hut and Popular Mechanics were advertised within Alpha on Dennis Tito's flight.

    B
  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @04:15AM (#69485) Homepage
    ... you kill me.
    First you complain because the Russians ask for more money, then you complain because they try to raise it themselves.
    Are you never satisfied?
  • by shokk ( 187512 ) <ernieoporto@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday July 22, 2001 @07:22AM (#69486) Homepage Journal

    I have no problem with this if the Russians are just scooting him up in one of their Soyuz capsules. They have plenty of those rockets and they need the $$$.

    Just wondering, though, if back in the days of the Wright brothers whether there was a hoopla about tourists going up in the skies. These days that makes up a very large portion of the aviation industry. We can expect the same of the space industry once launches past earth orbit become routine.

  • The problem is that the space training will take up a lot of time for the Russian space program administrators to implement. It might not seem like much, especially since the guy is a billionaire and will be paying, but in the short term, it WILL damage their programme plans.

    Not to mention the fact that the guy is a South African. The Russian/South African rivalry is well known - especially in the diamond arena. Siberian diamonds vs Kimberely diamonds almost caused an internation incident in the mid 60s.

    for the humour impaired: just kidding


    Cedric Balthazar Rotherwood
    Sun Certified Programmer for the Java Platform +
  • by cbr372 ( 193706 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @04:31AM (#69488)
    I will summarize all of the posts here:

    1. Shuttleworth is a good name for someone going into space. Ha ha ha!!!

    2. Africans should concentrate on more important things, like food and education.

    3. It's important for the Russians to get funding SOME WAY - and if this is it, then by Joe, it's a good thing.

    4. This isn't news for nerds!!

    5. This is old news - it should be called Olds for Nerds.


    Cedric Balthazar Rotherwood
    Sun Certified Programmer for the Java Platform +
  • Even 'joke' posts deserve an informative response. Private wealth and social upliftment in Africa is an issue that deserves to be discussed seriously.

    but is it news for nerds?
  • Because they have astronauts from many different countries wanting to play DVD's, NASA actually sent two hacked DVD players with region codes disabled [techtronics.com] to the space station.
  • by phr1 ( 211689 ) on Sunday July 22, 2001 @05:19AM (#69491)
    Thawte Consulting [thawte.com] is of course the certificate authority that started out in Mark's condo, that offered a lower cost alternative to Verisign. It was bought by Verisign a year or so ago for a stupendous amount of money at the height of the dotcom balloon. So that's where the cash for the space trip came from, and now we know what Mark is doing with the cash! Wow!
  • Actually the "Arms dealers" are/were feeding conflicts that have gone on for centuries. The problem with Southern/central Africa is that modern technologies have allowed people from different tribes to not only multiply at a much greater pace (than before western medicine and agriculture were introduced) but has also allowed them to come into contact with each other much more often that during the pre-colonial period. Combine that with the introduction of proselytizing (sp?) religions like Christianity and Islam and you have a big pot just waiting to boil over. S.
  • "isn't a whacko and wouldn't freak out in an emergency and endanger the other astronauts... which come to think of it is rather hard to guarantee if you don't have the military/astronaut discipline."

    Ah, yes. Nothing like those military backgrounds for guaranteeing someone isn't a wacko.

    Oxymoron (ok'se-mor'on) adj: A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in Military Intelligence.

  • But they have had some part in getting it up there, and I believe that they have had more cosmonaut hours in the silly thing then Americans have had astronaut hours in it. Furthermore, how is it hurting NASA to have a space tourist or two up there? It gets the ISS and the space program more publicity (always a good thing when you go for more funding), it helps keep the Russian side of things on track (the 20 million from Tito might have been "chump change" compared to the total cost, but it was 20 million), and it gives hope that one day people besides the NASA elite might be up there.

    And the ISS is not the U.S.'s either. International means just that.

    Kierthos
  • Sounds like NASA needs some space tourists then.

    How about 20 million for Bill Gates to go up, and another 20 million to bring him back down?

    Kierthos
  • So where is the problem? He's not hitch hiking or something...And the Russians, well, they aren't Vogons :)

  • "Not to mention the fact that the guy is a South African. The Russian/South African rivalry is well known - "

    Well, as long as he's paying them in $$$, the Russkies won't give a flying fuck which part of the world he's from. Money talks, and everyone understands that language.
  • "2. Africans should concentrate on more important things, like food and education."

    What about people from other regions?
    Or is this like ... "you've got the hungry mouths in your region, you deal with it"?

    #Rant mode = on

    I guess Africa would've been a better place had the arms dealers refrained from encouraging different factions/tribes/peoples to go to war, and then cashing in on them.
    It certainy would have been better off if the imperialists of the 19th and 20th century had stayed away.

    #End Rant mode

    And why should a private individual donate money earned (maybe not hard-earned) by him to any charity? Altruism? Ha ! Then why don't you donate a month's salary to some cause?
    Generalisations should be avoided like the plague. Now maybe I'll be able to do something about the cliches :)

  • "yes, now it is disneyland."

    Well, can you afford going to this disneyland?
    The Russians are in dire need of cash. And their getting it this way is many times better than selling thermonuclear devices to rogue states, or worse still, private individuals. Imagine Osama Bin Laden, with his $300 Million fortune going shopping, cart filled with a NNN Megaton thermonuclear device. Come to think of it, Shuttleworth is doing a goodish thing :)

  • Think of the space station has a Russian Space Station and an American&co station linked together. The russian part of the station(the back of the station) is all under they control, they don't have to lease time to use it. The Zaria and Zvesda modules are part of the Russian section, and then you have the american labs and everything in front that's allied, with the japanese lab & mini-arms at the very front.

    Bottom line is the russian can do whatever they want with their part, if they want to shoot porn flics they can. Of course this is exagerating because they are in a joint venture and they have to stay serious to keep the respect of the other partners. So your half right, ISS is not theirs but the russian part IS.
  • Pop singer John Denver entered negotiation with the old Soviet Union to buy a trip to space. I think he balked over the price -- $10 million. I wish he had gone. I think it would have had a very good effect on the Cold War.
  • This Dennis Tito story from CNN.com [cnn.com] has a quote I really like:

    ...Could his millions have been better spent on those in need rather than a personal vacation in zero gravity?

    "This money should have been spent on the poor. And it was. One hundred dollars a month is the average salary of a Russian aerospace worker," Tito quipped.

  • Maybe if they can get a steady stream of wealthy tourists, they can start pulling in advertising rubles for the space station.. Tourist arrives to a barrage of ads from Rolex, Ferrari, Cartier, etc... I can see the headlines now.. ISS becomes 5 star restaurant!
    --
  • Nevertheless, once again, Russians got the title of first ... in space. Whatever NASA will do about space tourism, they'll be always the second.
  • Troll?!?! How come? It's a valid question!
  • Russia is making money form the "tourists" that have more money than they know what to do with. fisrt some space enthusiast, now some prick with a last name that has the word 'shuttle'. who's next? if this continues the ISS will be covered with company logos of people that visited it. Isnt the ISS supposed to be a research facility not a tourist spot or a resteurant. should russia get aproval of the other contrubuting coutries wether or not they can bring tourists?
  • well russia and the US are the only 2 that i know of that are capable of space flight. but countries like canada, japan, and i think france are also contributing modules to the ISS.
  • if bill gates goes up the space station will crash. he will probably put windows on the computers there. nasa will mostlikely pay 20mil not to have him go up.
  • Since it's international anyone can stick a tourist in there. Also Russians deserve some credit for sticking the first guy in space!
    ---
  • And MIR is not a tin can. It has lasted longer than any american space station so far. And if I really want to be mean, I will also mention that the skylab has failed the first time it was launched, and was removed only 5 or so years later. While mir was in orbit for 15 years.

    Remember, when you are downloading MP3's, you are downloading communism!!!
  • Shouldn't that be 'Moneyshot'?

  • Maybe they should send Dimitry up. He might be free from the long arms of the DMCA there.

    Actually, on second thought, it isn't funny. It is probably true.

    *Sigh.*

  • Space has gone from being the place for people with the right stuff, to the final frontier, to the star wars defense system, to the defunct starwars, but now...yes, now it is disneyland.
  • Space Tourism is too bloody expensive. I personally would love to get involved in something like this, but the kind of costs involved are prohibitive for anyone without more money than sense.

    On the other hand, if I told my friends I was trying to raise money to go into space on a 40 year old Russian rocket, they might all chip in... :-)
  • No, I for one will never be satisfied!

    And neither will billions of other operatives standing by to ignore your needs now!
  • I never heard of this guy before but I found a old news item [uct.ac.za] from the University of Cape Town.
  • Really? And Internet Millionaire? I didn't think there were any of those left!

    It doesn't say how much this guy paid, but it must be less than Tito paid. Maybe Russia's recent announcement that they're reviving their space shuttle problem is just so they can take a dozen or so people up at once. At $10 mil each, that's $120mil per launch, I'm sure they could get people willing to pay that, or more.
  • send JonKatz up and tell them to keep him!
  • ..and not Russia at the moment. it was American side thinking about cutting 1/3 of the spending on ISS development in Montreal this week.
  • by other countries you mean "USA"?

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