American millionaire entrepreneur Greg Olsen
is the third paying space tourist of record flying with Space
Adventures upon a Russian Soyuz TMA-7 on October 1, 2005.
For a reported price tag of $20 million, Greg Olsen, Ph.D.
flew to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 10-day
trip as part of a regularly scheduled Russian "taxi mission"
to replace crew members.
Dr. Olsen flew to the ISS on Expedition 12 with commander
Bill McArthur and engineer Valery Tokarev. He returned on
Expedition 11 (Soyuz TMA-6) with the crew of flight commander
Sergei Krikalev and engineer John Phillips.
During his stay on the ISS, Greg Olsen, at 60-years-old conducted
Some of the experiments for the European Space Agency (ESA)
Greg Olsen was involved in included the body's response to
weightlessness, human bacteria flora, and the causes of lower
back pain and nausea. Like those who came before him, Dr.
Olsen rejects the "space tourist" moniker because
of his active role in the mission.
One of the highlights for Brooklyn-born Greg Olsen on his
space trip was the communication back to Earth that was enabled
for him on the ISS. He was able to speak with family and friends
via a web cast tele-bridge.
Olsen also spoke to 30 high school students in New York and
New Jersey via HAM radio. Despite the many gains on the flight,
Olsen did experience one loss and that was to a small digital
camera that floated away from him on some point on the trip.
The return back to Earth for Greg Olsen was not a smooth
as it had been for his predecessors since the Soyuz TMA-6
capsule experienced a fairly serious pressurization glitch
during undocking and descent from the ISS. All three cosmonauts
wore Sokol space suits as an extra precaution during descent
and more oxygen was added to the cabin.
Greg Olsen is the founder of both Sensors Unlimited and EPITAXX,
Incorporated, which is where he made most of his money. In
2000, Olsen sold Sensors Unlimited for $700 million only to
buy it back again at a deep discount and sell it a few years
later for another profit.
After barely escaping high school with low grades, Greg Olsen
turned his academic life around and received two bachelor's
degrees and a master's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University
in Madison, New Jersey. Olsen also received his Ph.D. in materials
science from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville,
which is just 100 miles from the Space Adventures headquarters