Space tourism will weather market crisis: astronaut

Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:45am EDT
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By Anatoly Titkin

STAR CITY, Russia (Reuters) - At over $30 million a ticket it is not cheap, but rich adventurers will still pay for a dream trip into orbit despite a global financial crisis, U.S. space tourist Richard Garriott said Monday.

Three days after returning to Earth from a trip to the International Space Station, Garriott told a news briefing at Russia's Star City space center that his journey had fulfilled a 30-year-old dream to fly into space.

"The launch of Soyuz TMA-13 was like a beautiful ballet. Strong, confident but also elegant," the goateed 47-year-old said with a smile of the Soviet-era space rocket.

"I'm thrilled that after 30 years of work I have made it."

Garriott, a video game businessman, paid more than $30 million for his 12-day trip to the International Space Station.

He is the son of a former U.S. astronaut and a board member in the company Space Adventures which sends space tourists into orbit.

And although world leaders and home owners have been worrying about what some observers call the biggest global economic crisis since the 1930s, Garriott said the space obsessed rich will still find the cash to fly into orbit.

"It's possible that the client list will change as happens in situations like this," he said.   Continued...

<p>U.S. space tourist Richard Garriott (R), Russia's cosmonauts Sergei Volkov (C) and Oleg Kononenko pose for a picture during a news conference at Star City outside Moscow, October 27, 2008. REUTERS/Sergei Remezov</p>