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.
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.
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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