First African pays $20m for trip to space

January 06, 2002

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CAPE TOWN, Jan 5: IT whiz Mark Shuttleworth plans to carry his country’s flag with pride when he becomes the first African in space in April, but he will not make his home in South Africa until limits on local entrepreneurs are scrapped.

He is spending about $20 million of the $575 million he was paid by VeriSign Inc in 2000 for his company, Thawte Consulting, to become the world’s second paying passenger in space.

Shuttleworth, who built his firm from the garage of his parents’ home, is the second person after 60-year-old US millionaire Dennis Tito to buy a ticket to space aboard a Russian-made Soyuz to the International Space Station. He has spent months in training and physical preparation.—Reuters