|Volume: 03, Issue: 17||08/24/2005|
International Space Station Will Host CivilianNASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts won’t be the only people inhabiting the International Space Station this October. The station will also welcome aboard American technology entrepreneur Gregory Olsen, Ph.D.
"We are pleased to confirm Dr. Olsen as a member of the next Soyuz crew. His determination and dedication to this mission should be seen as highly commendable and respected by the entire space community," said Anatoly Perminov, chief of the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA). "Dr. Olsen will be the first space tourist launched since the Columbia tragedy; we look forward to many future private missions."
Dr. Olsen has been confirmed to the Soyuz TMA-7 crew, which is currently planned for launch to the International Space Station on Oct. 1, 2005 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Dr. Olsen will join the Expedition 12 Crew, which will also include NASA astronaut William McArthur and cosmonaut Valery Tokarev.
The spaceflight was arranged by Space Adventures, Ltd., the same company that sent American businessman Dennis Tito and South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth to space. Dr. Olsen began his training for the adventure last year. Several weeks into his training program, however, he underwent a routine medical evaluation in which a health condition was detected that prohibited him from continuing his training. The condition has since been remedied, and, after a re-evaluation, Dr. Olsen received clearance to resume his cosmonaut training.
"I have been committed to this orbital mission ever since Space Adventures announced my candidacy last year,” Olsen said. “Since then, I have completed over 500 hours of cosmonaut training at Star City and am excited to finish my preparations. I also look forward to finalizing the components of my remote sensing and astronomy research projects that I plan to conduct while aboard the space station."
Dr. Olsen, born in 1945 in Brooklyn, N.Y., was raised in a working class family. He earned a Bachelor of Science and Master's degree in physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He then went on to graduate from the University of Virginia with a doctorate in materials science. From 1972 to 1983, he worked at RCA Laboratories, now known as the Sarnoff Corporation. In 1984, Dr. Olsen started his first company, Epitaxx, and later sold it for $12 million. He founded Sensors Unlimited, Inc. in 1992 and sold it for $700 million in 2000. He continues to serve as the company’s Chairman of the Board.
Space Adventures is the only company to have successfully launched private space explorers to the International Space Station. It offers a variety of programs, such as Zero-Gravity and MiG flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs, and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts.
Learn more about Dr. Olsen and Space Adventures, Ltd. at www.spaceadventures.com .
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