Simonyi begins training

RIA Novosti reported Thursday that former Microsoft executive Charles Simonyi has started training for his flight to the ISS. While Space Adventures has not announced a date for Simonyi’s flight, the RIA Novosti report stated that Simonyi would be training for a flight to the ISS in 2007. Presumably this will be in March 2007, since the available seat on the September 2007 flight will be taken by a Malaysian guest cosmonaut (unless the international partners free up a seat by going back to the shuttle to rotate station crews); assuming a six-month training cycle now would be the time to start for a March flight.

The article also contrasts Simonyi with former space tourist candidate Daisuke “Dice-K” Enomoto: a source told RIA Novosti that Simonyi “was remarkably different in his attitude to the flight from Daisuke Enomoto, a Japanese businessman who had failed his medical and appeared to be embroiled in a financial scandal in his homeland.”

Enomoto’s spot on this month’s Soyuz flight was filled by another tourist, Anousheh Ansari; will Simonyi have a similar backup? The article suggests we’ll know soon. “The training center representative said it would be clear in 10 days whether Simonyi would have a backup. ‘The main thing is that he wants to learn more than is taught during the reduced ‘tourist’ course, which does him credit,’ he said.”

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