Mark Shuttleworth, besides having the perfect
last name for a space traveler, was the first African in space
and the second paying space tourist in history. Mark Shuttleworth
made his fortune as an Internet tycoon in the 1990's and on
April 25, 2002 made history by flying aboard a Russian Soyuz
TM34 capsule as a cosmonaut to the International Space Station
(ISS). He paid Space Adventures
a reported $20 million for the flight.
Not wanting to be saddled with the moniker of "tourist,"
Shuttleworth completed several experiments while on his 8-day
stay upon the ISS.
The whole adventure lasted 10 days. The experiments Shuttleworth
worked on include human genome and AIDS research.
Mark Shuttleworth's father had commented that one of the
most difficult parts of the trip for Mark was adhering to
the strict regimen that astronauts and cosmonauts must follow.
Only 28-years-old at the time of his journey, Mark Shuttleworth
had spent seven months of formal training for the mission
at Star City in Russia and one week in Houston at the NASA
Johnson Space Center.
During the three-hour return trip from space, Mark Shuttleworth
told reporters about metal melting outside the windows during
reentry. He also stated that the reportedly "soft landing"
was really a silly euphemism and that no landing could be
expected to be soft when one is a fireball falling out of
the sky at 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Approximately 15 minutes before landing, a parachute deployed
and then just before touching down a set of braking rockets
fired that helped with the "soft landing." Upon
returning to Kazakhstan, Shuttleworth was surrounded by space
personal, medical experts and many journalist hurling questions.
Borat was noticeable absent at this point.
Mark Shuttleworth made his mega-millions by founding Thawte
in 1995, a digital certificate and encryption company that
promoted online shopping and turning around and selling it
to VeriSign in 1999 for $575 million. From there Shuttleworth
went on to found HBD Venture Capital with HBD standing for
"Here Be Dragons," a reference to the maps of early
Mr. Shuttleworth also founded The Shuttleworth Foundation,
a non-profit organization that funds educational improvement
projects in Africa. Living now in London, Mark Shuttleworth
is also heavily involved in the Ubuntu Project that has a
goal of producing a robust desktop and server-side operating
system that is free for all to use.