Ultima creator reaches orbit

Several video game designers have launched aerospace projects--some with spectacularly fiery results. However, it wasn't until Sunday that the first game developer actually made it into space proper. That's when 47-year-old Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of Ultima and Tabula Rasa, took...

Several video game designers have launched aerospace projects--some with spectacularly fiery results. However, it wasn't until Sunday that the first game developer actually made it into space proper. That's when 47-year-old Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of Ultima and Tabula Rasa, took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz TMA-13 rocket, reaching orbit just minutes later.

Site of Soviet-era spaceflight triumphs, such as the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin in 1961, Baikonur now serves as the hub of the space program of the Russian Federation. To deal with cash shortages, Russia has entered into a partnership with Space Adventures, of which Garriott is a board member. Based in a suburb of Washington, D.C., Space Adventures specializes in shuttling wealthy "space tourists" to the International Space Station aboard Russian rockets for a substantial fee.

How substantial? According to the Associated Press, Garriott paid about $30 million for a 12-day trip into space. On Tuesday, he will dock with the ISS, where he will perform a number of experiments for sponsors helping to defray his trip's costs. As part of his own "Operation Immortality," Garriott also carries a hard drive containing the digitized DNA sequences of academics and celebrities, including physicist Stephen Hawking and late-night TV satirist Stephen Colbert. (Several dozen Tabula Rasa contest winners also had their DNA included.) The drive will be stored on board the ISS after Garriott's October 24 departure so that if the Earth's population is wiped out in some sort of catastrophe, its leading citizens might someday be genetically reconstituted.

"What I am trying to do is demonstrate that you can mount a very successful campaign to go into space and beyond because it's good business," Garriott told the AP.

Garriott also now holds the distinction of being the first American to follow a parent into space. His father, 77-year-old Owen Garriott, spent 60 days aboard Skylab in 1973 and 10 days aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1983.

Photo Credit: AP/Dmitry Lovetsky

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Discussion

94 comments
JHayes167
JHayes167

this man is a super rich maniac. i saw a piece on him and his crazy castle house with a drawbridge and his weird collections on vbs.tv, and holy crap does this guy personify eccentric

naxosiiix
naxosiiix

@nomadski69 - While he may have been born in another country, it was to American parents and they moved while he was still a baby. I was born in Germany to American parents, and at no point in my life have I considered myself German.

nomadski69
nomadski69

American? He may be an American citizen, but he is still English - you cant rewrite where someone is born.

Kermyt
Kermyt

His money, he can do what he wants with it......ilidiandemon, how much have you donated from you annual salary to charity this year. And be honest. Wish i had the money to fly me to the moon.

martianrobot
martianrobot

$30 million is a lot of money to spend on sending one man into space for what is basically a holiday. I reckon someone could've invented anti-gravity with that sort of cash, making space flight cheaper and easier for everybody, and more eco-friendly to boot. Or teleportation. Or at least a jetpac that doesn't burn your bum.

spork77
spork77

Wow I didn't realize successful people weren't allowed to do things for themselves. I forgot they are supposed to give all there hard earned money to people that do nothing for themselves. People donate still, but that doesn't mean they have to give ALL their money to others.

ilidiandemon
ilidiandemon

With this money he could've helped a lot of people here, in earth. Today he spent 30 mill in a space flight... and today a child starved to death... Congratulations Richard, the Avatar is proud of you.

kevinketavet
kevinketavet

Lucky son of a biatch, I did a pp presentation on space tourism for a final in school. The first space tourist only paid 16mil, I thought the price would come down as more people did this. Nasa makes its difficult, they dont want tourists in space, too much scenery they don't want us to see up there. ROSCOSMOS on the other hand...$$$

brownba3
brownba3

And if you had the money to spend - wouldn't this be an awesome way to do it? Not many people can sing Major Tom and be autobigraphical...

HappyBB
HappyBB

Space, the final frontier of mankind. These are the stories of the star ship, Richdom!! Boldly go where no ordinary men has gone before!! Just making fun. I don't mean any disrespect to Richard "Lord British" Garriott.

sliny
sliny

grats to garriott

Link1515
Link1515

Not a wise use of his money, but it would be an incredible experience.

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

great use of money not many people can say they have been in space and he departs on my birthday aswell xD.

quietguy
quietguy

Now the problem is: who's going to do the cloning if humanity gets wiped out?

GatCloudX
GatCloudX

when you were in Kazhekstan did you go to space with BORAT?????

Erebus
Erebus

After 47 years, Lord British finally got sent back home.

empregi
empregi

Lord British is not British? Bollocks!

TimSpot
TimSpot

RAT TAILS IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

Wow, I never knew he was related to the Skylab crewmember. Ayone got 20 mil they can loan me? Im good for it, hoest ;)

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Interesting story. I never expected to read about space flights on a video game site. I wish Mr. Garriott the best of luck on his mission.

Targzissian
Targzissian

Go Richard!!! Whatever the future of Tabula Rasa, at least he'll be able to say he created the Ultima series, explored the Titanic, and went into space. It's not wasteful at all to spend money on a venture such as this. Every cent we spend on space travel now will just make access to space cheaper and more reliable in the future.

JunoFallon
JunoFallon

It's hard to put a price on seeing space, but in these times of financial colapes and woe in the USA it seems SO wasteful.

newb16
newb16

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

blackace
blackace

That's cool. He's gone where only few men/women have gone before. By the time space travel becomes the norm, I'll be dead and gone. LOL!! I'll see space when I dead.

TylrKakarot1
TylrKakarot1

Thank God Colbert is one of those with DNA in space.

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

So thats what he did with all the Tabula Rasa money, because i know for sure they havent updated the game at all.

football_legend
football_legend

yeah, i heard about this Russian travel agency that send guys with deep pockets to orbit. Hope we have something like this soon here,

9-Jack-9
9-Jack-9

The Ultimas are some of the best RPGs of all time, and brought me, god, entire months of fun when I was younger. Good for him.

Donkeljohn
Donkeljohn

The best part of this story has got to be the heart-warming portion about the son following in the footsteps of the father.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

i dont kow you guys but going to space is worth every cent

Partisan357
Partisan357

Can someone lend me 30 million? You know I'm good for it.

ThePope2k6
ThePope2k6

For those wondering how Lord British got all that cash, he made it as a result of selling Origin to EA, which was an absolutely necessary move at the time. Origin was cash poor, and likely would not have survived had they not accepted a buyout. And there were some great Origin games after that buyout (Wing Commander, Crusader, System Shock) I think it's great news. Lord British is truly one of the legends of video game development, and it's likely that we wouldn't have seen RPG's be nearly as popular as they are without his contributions. (Ask any early JRPG developer what their influence was, and they'll almost certainly say Ultima or Wizardry.) As far as I'm concerned, the man has earned the right to spend his money following his dream, and if I were in his shoes, I'd do the same in a heartbeat.

wayanbros
wayanbros

I'm pretty sure they have training and medical tests. They want at least competent rich fools on the space station.

dieing_heart
dieing_heart

That makes me kind of paranoid...an incredibly rich man, funded by an incredibly rich company is storing DNA in space just in case something may happen?

Timstuff
Timstuff

Virgin's Galaxy air lines are going to be way more economical. You can go into space for a couple hours for $400,000, or you can go into space for 12 days for $30,000,000 and puke every couple hours because you've had no formal astronaut training.

jazilla
jazilla

LOL, I wouldn't exactly categorize Stephen Colbert and Tabula Raza contest winners as, "leading citizens." That is one of the more hilarious things I have seen on this site. Stephen Hawking is an amazing man, but sending Garriot into space for 30 million is a joke in the highest order.

Droogie_1
Droogie_1

why, gamespot, do you link to a 2004 story of armadillo aerospace's rocket malfunction every time a story like this comes out? armadillo aerospace is actually a profitble company now and they have been likely favorites to win a few of the x-prize catagories. in other words...carmack is doing some damned fine work over there. stop linking an early company failure every time you mention space. it doesnt look good...

masterclone
masterclone

" ptown58 Posted Oct 13, 2008 4:57 pm CET Hey Dick you should spend that 30m helping people, na I'll waste it on going into space instead..it will bring me so much inner peace. "Have no fear for atomic energy, 'Cause none of them can stop the time." " It's his money, he can do whatever he wants with them. If you earn $30 mil then you can help the poor or whatever you want to do.

jer_1
jer_1

Waste O money.

Seram
Seram

It would be so amazing to go into space. Definitely worth the 30 million.

N-REAL
N-REAL

I would pay 100$ million for going into space......if I had the cash of course..... :)