Google Co-Founder to Visit Space Station in 2011

Google co-founder Sergey Brin wants to go to space and has made a $5 million down payment to book a seat on a future private space flight with Space Adventures, the space tourism company said on Wednesday.

It will cost Brin more than $35 million for his trip to the International Space Station, according to Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson.

“I am a big believer in the exploration and commercial development of the space frontier and am looking forward to the possibility of going into space,” Brin said in a statement.

Anderson announced the creation of an Orbital Mission Explorers Circle of members who will each contribute $5 million to gradually help finance the company’s first private mission to the space station.

Space Adventures has bought seats on Russian space agency missions to the orbiting ISS. It now plans to build its own Soyuz rocket for private missions that could start as soon as the second half of 2011.

The company aims to send one mission a year to the space station, with two clients on each flight, Anderson said.

The $5 million down payment gives members first option on a seat on the mission. Anderson said he was looking for five more wealthy people to be founder members of the Explorers Circle.

While the United States only flies professional astronauts, specially trained tourists and other space travelers have been able to fly to the station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.