US space tourist hopes to recoup 30 million-dollar ticket

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan - Richard Garriott, who is set to become the first American to follow his astronaut father into space on Sunday, hopes to be able to recoup the 30 million dollars he paid for the experience.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 11 Oct 2008, 8:12 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:17 PM

"I am trying to demonstrate with my flight... that private participants can do business in space that returns revenues at similar scales to the cost," Garriott told a press conference Saturday.

The son of Owen Garriott, who spent two months in 1973 aboard Skylab space station, was speaking at the Soviet era space base at Baikonur, where he is to blast off aboard a Russian rocket for the International Space Station.

Garriott, a multi-millionaire video game mogul, forked out the equivalent of 22 million euros for a place on the Soyuz rocket and to spend two weeks aboard the ISS, fulfilling a childhood dream.

On his mission, he plans to perform several experiments on topics including the effect of space travel on the immune system and the sleep characteristics of astronauts.

"I am generating significant revenues through my activities... that I believe will be increased in the future," he told the press conference accompanied by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov and US astronaut Michael Fincke.

In response to a question, Fincke denied there was any negative impact on cooperation between the two sides in the face of fresh tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia's conflict in August with Georgia.

"We are a symbol of what people can do working together. And that means all the countries on this planet," said Fincke.

"We are doing our best to be the best example that we can be. As we say in space, there is no room for politics."

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