U.S. mogul's wife calls time on $60 million space hobby

Thu Mar 5, 2009 1:58pm EST
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By Conor Humphries

STAR CITY, Russia (Reuters) - U.S. software mogul Charles Simonyi plans to make history this month by becoming the first tourist to travel to space twice, but after watching him spend $60 million his new wife has decided to clip his wings.

Simonyi, 60, a billionaire who made much of his fortune at U.S. computer software maker Microsoft, is training in Moscow ahead of a March 26 blast-off.

But his 28-year-old Swedish wife, who he married in November, has told him the $35 million space flight would be his last to the International Space Station (ISS).

"I decided to fly before I got engaged and my wife agreed that I would be able to fly just once more, so I cannot fly a third time," Simonyi told journalists on Thursday at the Star City cosmonaut training camp outside Moscow.

"When you have a family and children you have lots of responsibilities," said Hungarian-born Simonyi, who led the teams that developed Microsoft's Word and Excel applications.

Even if Simonyi managed to convince his family to allow him to embark on another two-week trip, he might find it difficult to book a ticket.

Simonyi's Russian Soyuz space craft is the last of seven scheduled tourist flights to the ISS.

When the ISS crew is increased from three to six later this year there will be no space for tourists, Russia's space agency has said.   Continued...

<p>Entrepreneur Charles Simonyi of the U.S. puts on his space suit at the Star City space centre outside Moscow, where he is being tested on his readiness to travel to the International Space Station, March 4, 2009. REUTERS/Sergei Remezov</p>