An American software billionaire has made history, becoming the first civilian to make two trips into space. The Soyuz rocket blasted off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying the final three-man team to the International Space Station. New solar panels on the ISS give it enough power from the sun to expand its crew to six from now on, as its designers originally envisaged.Soyuz is due to rendezvous with the 100 billion dollar space station on Saturday, 350 kms above the Earth. The crew received a traditional orthodox blessing before boarding Soyuz. Their paying passenger, cashtronaut Charles Simonyi, made his money at Microsoft. Its co-founder Paul Allen was there to wave him off, as was Simonyi’s glamorous wife, 28-year old Lisa, 32 years his junior. Simonyi admits he is wealthy enough to indulge his passion, but this will be his last voyage. Now he’s married he wants to spend more time with his family.
Space tourist makes second liftoff