Video Game Developer Will Fly to Space

Space tourism company Space Adventures has announced their next orbit-bound customer. This time it’s going to be video game legend Richard Garriott. All you Ultima fans might know him as Lord British. If all goes well, Garriott will ride to the International Space Station in October 2008. And here’s the cool thing: his father, Owen Garriott was an astronaut for NASA, and spent time in orbit aboard Skylab and Spacelab-1. Like father, like son.

The news of this latest astro-tourist was announced on September 28, 2007 by Space Adventures. This is the Vienna, Virginia-based organization that has already arranged the passage of Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari and Charles Simonyi to the space station. They’ve also got an office in Moscow.

Richard is best known for his work in the video game industry. He developed the original Ultima series, founded Origin Systems, and eventually created Ultima-online; the predecessor to popular massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft. Let’s just say I’ve spent a lot of time with his video games.

Here’s a really cool coincidence of the whole story. If he does make it to space, Garriott will be the first second-generation US astronaut. At the same time, second-generation Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov will be aboard the International Space Station. And the two will return to Earth together.

Garriott won’t just be spending his time in space gazing out the porthole (although I’m sure that’ll take up a lot of his day), he’s going to have some work to do. Space Adventures has announced that this flight will have plenty of commercial partners, looking to have science experiments and educational outreach done in the microgravity of orbit. ExtremoZyme Inc, a biotechnology company co-founded by Owen Garriott has already signed up to perform crystallization experiments in orbit.

Since he’s a pretty Internet savvy guy, Richard Garriott has even got a website detailing his upcoming flight, with a countdown clock ticking away the days until he reaches orbit. Only 408 days to go…

Original Source: Space Adventures News Release