Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan – October 2, 2005 American technology entrepreneur Greg Olsen and his Soyuz TMA-7 crew successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan here yesterday. Dr. Olsen joins the Expedition 12 crew for his eight-day mission at the space station. Prior to the launch, Olsen said, “this will undoubtedly be one of my greatest life accomplishments and I look forward in sharing my experience while in space and when I return. Hard work and determination has led me to where I am today and I encourage today’s youth to dream big. If I can do it, so can you!”
Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the company which organised the spaceflights for the world’s first and only private space explorers, American businessman Dennis Tito and the ‘First African in Space’ Mark Shuttleworth, said, “Today marks another triumph in commercial space travel. Greg has been committed to this mission since day one and so has the staff at Space Adventures. He is an inspiration to us and I’m sure he will inspire millions around the world through this mission.” Dr. Olsen, entrepreneur and founder of EPITAXX, Inc. and Sensors Unlimited, Inc.,has completed over 900 hours of training in Star City, Russia in preparation for this mission. While aboard the ISS, he will participate in a research program prepared by the European Space Agency that will study the human body’s response to the microgravity environment. The experiments are designed to study the possible cause of nausea and lower back pain; and the evolution of human bacterial flora. In addition to scientific experiments, Dr. Olsen will communicate with over 30 high school students in New Jersey and New York via HAM radio signal. This effort has been organized through the Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) international working group. Dr. Olsen will also speak to family, friends and colleagues via video tele-bridge that will be carried as a web cast, courtesy of Space.com and Sensors Unlimited, Inc. Those interested in viewing this web cast will be able to log onto and www.space.com and www.sensorsinc.com on October 4 from 6:27 to 6:39 p.m. (EDT); October 6 from 5:42 to 5:54 p.m. (EDT); and October 7 from 6:07 to 6:19 p.m. (EDT). Dr. Olsen was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He earned dual bachelor degrees in electrical engineering and physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University. After he finished his undergraduate work, he earned his masters in physics at Fairleigh Dickinson and then his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Virginia in 1971. From 1972 to 1983, he worked at RCA Laboratories, now known as the Sarnoff Corporation. In 1984, Dr. Olsen started his first company, EPITAXX, Inc. and later sold it for $12 million (USD). He founded Sensors Unlimited, Inc. in 1992, later sold it for $700 million (USD) in 2000, bought it back in 2002 for $6 million (USD) and sold it last month for $60 million (USD). Space Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private space explorers to space, is headquartered in Arlington, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as Zero-Gravity and MiG flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company's advisory board comprises Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton, Robert (Hoot) Gibson, Charles Walker, Norm Thagard, Sam Durrance, Byron Lichtenberg and Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com
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