Game on in space for Lord British

A British-born games tycoon rocketed into space today to become the latest cosmic tourist. Richard Garriott, 47, who was raised in Cambridge, headed for the International Space Station with two crew from the US and Russia.

Soyuz launchHe paid Space Adventures around $30 million for his seat aboard a Soyuz ship that blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He is only the sixth privately funded space tripper.

The son of veteran NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, Richard was known as Lord British by schoolchums when he moved to Texas because of his accent. He introduced the character to his computer games.

He is the fifth spaceman to be born in the UK, following Helen Sharman, Michael Foale, Piers Sellers and Nicholas Patrick. But he is a US citizen.

Richard and crewmates Michael Fincke and Yury Lonchakov will arrive at the space station on Tuesday to join three astronauts already aboard. They will have to cope with a new problem with the orbiting outpost’s toilet which has broken down before.

His ten days aboard the station will help prepare it for the arrival of the shuttle Endeavour next month with a second toilet for installation.

In the 1980s, Richard, his father and brother created the video games company Origin Systems, writing the classic Ultima series of games. The company was sold to Electronic Arts in 1992. His latest computer game, Tabula Rasa, was launched last November.

Richard had to pay for his space trip because he was not allowed to join NASA’s own astronaut corps after failing an eye exam.

His flight is the latest in a series of adventures including searching for meteorites in Antarctica, tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda, canoeing down the Amazon, and diving to the wreck of the Titanic.

Photo: NASA TV.

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Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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