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Garriott Returns From Space Adventure, ISS

Garriott Returns From Space Adventure, ISS

October 24, 2008 | By Eric Caoili

October 24, 2008 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

NCsoft's Richard "Lord British" Garriott returned safely to Earth along with two Russian cosmonauts, landing in northern Kazakhstan 12 days after traveling to the International Space Station as a space tourist.

Anatoly Perminov, the head of Russian space agency Roskosmos described the Soyuz capsule's landing as "ideal," according to a report from the Associated Press.

The veteran designer is the first British-born space tourist and the sixth space tourist to travel through Space Adventures, a company offering private citizens the chance to join missions to space.

Garriott is the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, making him the second second-generation astronaut -- cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, who accompanied Garriott on the return trip, was the first.

The Ultima creator spent a year training for his space mission, and according to a figure in the UK Times Online, paid $30 million for the trip.

Garriott hoped to spend part of his trip assisting with outreach to students at the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, conducting science experiments designed by grade schoolers in the UK, and performing a series of experiments with NASA to study the impact of space flight on astronauts.

He also intended to photograph Earth and assist Extremozyme, the biotechnology company his father co-founded, in conducting Protein Crystal Growth experiments.

Garriott brought to space a digital time capsule containing a history of humankind's greatest achievements, personal messages from people all over the world, and Tabula Rasa player character data.

As part of Operation Immortality, he also brought digitized DNA sequences for select Tabula Rasa players and The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert.

"Additionally, I will be taking the game code with me, so Tabula Rasa will probably be the first video game launched into outer space," Garriott explained in a recent Gamasutra feature.

"What a great ride that was," said Garriott shortly after the return trip. "This is obviously a pinnacle experience."

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