Ultima creator and Origin founder Richard Garriott is set to become the first “second-generation astronaut,” with plans for a trip to the International Space Station in October 2008.

The “commercially active” mission is intended to be the first in a series of commercial activity onboard the ISS, which will include research and educational programs. Garriott’s trip is being put together by Space Adventures Ltd., which bills itself as “the world’s leading space experiences company.”

Eric Anderson, Space Adventure CEO, said, “It has always been Space Adventures’ goal to open the space frontier. Now, with Richard’s flight, we have designed a series of missions devoted to increased commercial involvement in manned space missions.” The company was responsible for organizing the mission of the first private astronaut in 2001 when it sent Dennis Tito to the ISS aboard a Soyuz capsule for a reported $20 million payment.

“It is my goal to devote a significant amount of my time aboard the space station to science, engineering and educational products,” Garriott said. “I understand the necessity for conducting research in extreme environments whether it is collecting microorganisms from deep sea hydrothermal vents to carry out experiments in the continuous microgravity of Earth orbit. We need to be adventurous in mind and stimulate our intellects to answer today’s most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow’s technological marvels.”

Garriott’s father and Origin co-founder Owen was himself a NASA astronaut who served on missions aboard Skylab and Spacelab. “Because of my career, it was almost natural for Richard to be interested in space and exploration. I am so pleased that he is able to embrace this himself and that he is dedicating his flight to research. I am very proud of him,” he said.

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