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Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 00:59 GMT
SA millionaire to be space tourist
Mark Shuttleworth in Soyuz training
A ride in the Soyuz rocket will cost Mark about $20 million
A South African internet millionaire is set to become the second paying space tourist.

The Russian space agency announced on Wednesday that it would fly Mark Shuttleworth, 27, to the International Space Station (ISS) next April.

He has already undergone initial space training in Star City, outside Moscow, the heart of the Russian space programme.

I hope it will inspire many of my fellow Africans of all ages to believe in the power of their dreams

Mark Shuttleworth
Californian businessman Dennis Tito became the first person to go into space as a paying passenger earlier this year, over the objections of the United States space agency Nasa.

The head of the Russian Aerospace Agency, Yuri Koptev, said the terms agreed with Mr Shuttleworth were "no worse" than Mr Tito's.

The American billionaire is thought to have paid $20m for his eight-day trip into space.

No dispute

Mr Koptev said the Americans had expressed no objections to Mr Shuttleworth's trip.

"We have the understanding of our partners," he said at a news conference in Moscow. "There is no rift."

Mr Shuttleworth sold his internet security consultancy to American rival VeriSign for about $500m in April last year - four years after he started it in his parents' garage.

Rocket, AP
"I hope it will inspire many of my fellow Africans of all ages to believe in the power of their dreams," he said of his planned trip into space.

The perhaps appropriately named Mr Shuttleworth is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.

Mr Shuttleworth said the training he underwent over the summer was intense and challenging and added: "When you are totally inspired, it's not work."

Mr Shuttleworth will join Roberto Vittori of Italy and a Russian cosmonaut aboard a Soyuz shuttle for the flight to the ISS.

See also:

28 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Profile: Tito the spaceman
28 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
First space tourist blasts off
30 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
'I love space' says pioneer tourist
26 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Space tourists ready to dig deep
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