While most of the world was living out the banality of their everyday lives last week, Richard Garriott was in outer space. Now, Garriott can once again be considered a terrestrial being, as he and two cosmonaut comrades safely returned to Earth aboard the TMA-12 spacecraft yesterday after spending more than 10 days in space.
"This mission to the ISS fulfilled a lifelong dream to experience spaceflight as my father first did 35 years ago; it's an honor to be the first American to follow a parent into space," said Richard Garriott in a statement. "This experience made possible by Space Adventures--from my training in Star City to liftoff, orbit, and finally docking with and staying on the ISS--has been more gratifying than anything I could have ever imagined."
During his time aboard the International Space Station, Garriott conducted a number of field research experiments for a variety of sponsors who helped pay for his $30 million rocket ticket. The famed game designer, who created the seminal role-playing franchise Ultima, as well as NCsoft's sci-fi massively multiplayer online game Tabula Rasa, also communicated with students participating in the Challenger Center for Space Science Education program.
"While in space, I had the opportunity to conduct scientific experiments and environmental research, but what was most rewarding was speaking to students," Garriott further commented. "Growing up in an astronaut family, I firmly believed that every person could go to space, and now I have. I took this opportunity to inspire them with my adventure and let them know they can achieve their wildest dreams, as well with hard work and perseverance."
While aboard the ISS, Garriott regularly chronicled his experiences, posting them to his personal Web site dedicated to the interstellar expedition.