Our neighbor in Bellevue, is once again about to depart on his second trip to the ISS. Dr. Charles Simonyi will leaving for the ISS on March 26th at 6:49 am CDT (4:49am Pacific time). Dr. Simonyi is going to be the final space tourist since later this summer the ISS crew will finally grow to 6 astronauts (currently 3) and there just won't be enough room for visitors now matter how much money they pay to go up there.
Our club had Dr. Simonyi as a guest speaker last October where he gave a great slideshow of his trip and was just a lot of fun to talk to. Easy to see he was very exicted about getting the chance to go up again.
This time he'll be part of the crew of the TMA-14 spacecraft along with Commander Gennady Padalka, NASA flight engineer Michael Barratt. Dr. Simonyi will return to Earth on April 7 with Expedition 18 Commander Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov.
After several delays, STS-119 is finally going to launch to the ISS this coming Wed. March 11. More on that later....