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Charles Simonyi

Charles Simonyi is the second Hungarian in space and the fifth space tourist overall. Charles Simonyi may be best known for being the brains behind the success of Microsoft's major applications of Word and Excel.

On April 7, 2007, American billionaire businessman Charles Simonyi, Ph.D. commenced his 14-day mission from Space Adventures aboard a Russian Soyuz TMA-10 to the International Space Station (ISS).

The 14-day trip was the longest space tourist adventure to date as two days were added in order that a daylight landing away from snow in the proper location in Kazakhstan could be achieved.

Charles Simonyi paid a reported $25 million for the space tourism adventure and the extra days on the ISS were at no extra charge. Simonyi flew up to this ISS on April 7 on Expedition 15 with Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov. Charles Simonyi returned from the ISS to Earth

Dr. Simonyi has stated that he felt lucky not to have become sick during the flight to the ISS as had happen to other space tourists before him on the same flight. And, like some of the other space tourists, Charles Simonyi communicated with students on the ground via HAM radio during his flight and in particular high school students from Fairborn, Ohio.

The 58-year-old Simonyi participated in several experiments to measure radiation while aboard ISS. He commented that during space, one's face tends to bloat, a person grows by about an inch and that he personally lost 10 pounds. Simonyi took with him an MP3 player with classical music and 1960's Rock and says he's glad he did as the ISS is a noisy vessel.

Charles Simonyi returned from the ISS back to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-9 with cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, who had spent 215 days in orbit. Upon landing in a deserted patch of Kazakhstan land, Dr. Simonyi and the crew were placed in comfortable, fur-covered chairs and Simonyi bit into a green apple, which is a cosmonaut tradition.

Simonyi was born in Budapest, Hungary and moved to the U. S. in 1968. He attended University of California, Berkeley and got his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford in 1977. Bill Gates gave Simonyi a job in 1981 overseeing Microsoft's flagship software applications.

In 2002, Charles Simonyi co-founded Intentional Software, which is where his focus lays today. And, rumor has it that Martha Stewart gave Simonyi a sendoff during his famous flight and he is still dating her as of this writing.

Charles Simonyi has also created a website documenting his experience is space, complete with video, question and answer and HAM radio broadcasts from the ISS.


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