One of the cofounders of search engine Google, Sergey Brin, has booked a flight to space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket for 2011.Virginia-based Space Adventures, which arranges space flights for ultrawealthy clients, plans to buy a private Soyuz flight in 2011, and 34-year-old Brin is a new investor in the company.
Brin, Google’s technology president, has placed a US$5 million deposit for the orbital spaceflight. The five previous passengers with Space Adventures have paid between US$20m and US$35 for the whole package, so he would have to pay considerably more to get a seat.
He said: “I am a big believer in the exploration and commercial development of the space frontier, and am looking forward to the posibility of going into space.”
Space Adventures said Mr Brin was the first of six founding members of an “Orbital Mission Explorers Circle” who will each contribute US$5 million to pay for the company to launch its first private mission to the International Space Station.
This could cost $35 million or more, said Eric Anderson, Space Adventures’ chief executive. However, it may allow paying passengers greater control over their flight with room to take their own space experiments with them.
Space Adventures has become increasingly ambitious in the scope of its flights.
In 2005, it announced that it would be offering $100 million trips around the moon. A year later, it added a $15m spacewalk as an option for its wealthy clients.