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Space Tourism

The Star Tribune reported the blast off of a Soyuz capsule carrying a Russian-American crew and American billionaire, Charles Simonyi, as a space tourist, Thursday for the international space station. The Russian rocket took off from Banikonur, Kazakhstan on schedule Thursday morning and is scheduled to return with Simonyi after 13 days. This trip will make Simonyi the first two-time space tourist. He told the Tribune the going rate for a seat to space was $35 million, a price he said would be going up in the future. The New York Times reported that the space capsule also carried two other passengers along with others, Expedition 19 commander Gennady Padalka, a Russian air force colonel, U.S. flight engineer Michael Barratt, a physician- astronaut, who will remain in space to man the international space station.