Charles Simonyi, Institute Trustee and President and CEO, Intentional Software Corporation. Space flight is still a very rare and exotic experience that has only recently been opened to "tourists," officially known as spaceflight participants. Dr. Simonyi was the fifth of these as the 450th person in space.
Under a contract with Space Adventures and the Russian Space Agency, he rode a Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft into orbit to visit the International Space Station (ISS), and returned on another Soyuz, landing in central Kazakhstan after a 14-day stay in space. Parts of the Soyuz system date back to the beginning of the Space Age, which started on October 4, 1957 with the launch of Sputnik I. Dr. Simonyi describes the six month training process and the flight itself from the point of view of a knowledgeable civilian, with particular emphasis on the issues of system reliability, traditions, and health aspects.