Microsoft billionaire blasts into space again

Baikonur (Kazakhstan) – Charles Simonyi, a software engineer best known for leading the development to of Microsoft’s most profitable applications, Word and Excel, travelled into space for second time. Simonyi’s Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft successfully launched earlier today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and is now en route to the International Space Station (ISS).

It is Simonyi’s second trip into space, following a first eleven day trip in April of 2007, which made him the fifth private person in space. The second time around, the engineer once again booked the trip through Space Adventures. Simonyi is believed to have spent about $60 million on his space missions.

Space Adventures said that Simonyi aims to continue to make contributions toward space research, and advance civilian space travel while inspiring kids in their studies of science and math on this trip. He will share his spaceflight experiences on a daily basis through his Web site,

Simonyi, attended Stanford University and worked for Xerox’ PARC early in his career. He joined Microsoft in 1981 and was in charge of the development of Microsoft’s Word and Excel, as well as Excel’s predecessor Multiplan products.  Simonyi left Microsoft in 2002 and now heads up a company called Intentional Software. His net worth is estimated at about $1 billion.