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Space tourist Symonyi busy raising family, yearns to go to orbit again

Charles Symonyi came to the spaceport earlier to see off Fyodor Yurchikhin, a fellow crew member and a dear friend
Charles Symonyi NASA/
Charles Symonyi

BAIKONUR /Kazakhstan/, April 20. /TASS/. Space tourist Charles Symonyi, who was one of those watching the launch of the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, said he would like to go to orbit once again but it was impossible as he was busy raising his kids.

While talking to TASS, Symonyi, who became the fifth-ever space tourist in 2007 and made his second space trip in 2009, said: "I promised my wife that I would be staying with the family and the children but I think it would be wonderful."

"Every time that I come here, I remember the excitement and the feeling of going to space. I would love to do it again," he added.

According to him, he came to the spaceport to see off Fyodor Yurchikhin, a fellow crew member from his first space flight.

"I’m here because this is the 10-year anniversary of my flight with Fyodor Yurchikhin," Symonyi said. "Fyodor is going to space for the fifth time, so I’m here to support him. He was the flight engineer. Oleg Kotov was the commander. But we of course spent time on the station. He was the commander of the station, of the ISS, when I was there. He gave me a lot of advice for my second flight. So we have a great friendship," he resumed.

Charles Simonyi, a computer programmer, oversaw the creation of Microsoft’s flagship Office suite of applications, including Word and Excel, while heading Microsoft’s application software group. He quit Microsoft in 2002 to create a new programming start-up. However, according to media reports, Symonyi is now returning to Microsoft.

The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft blasted off the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 10:13 Moscow time (07:13 GMT) on Thursday. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the ISS six hours after the launch, considering that the three previous flights were two days long as the Soyuz-MS spacecraft was undergoing tests. The crew is made up of Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and NASA astronaut Jack Fischer. The third seat is occupied by a 70-kilogram cargo container.

The current ISS crew consists of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.