2011: My Space Odyssey

Why would somebody with a few extra million dollars lying around choose to spend it on training to become a space tourist? Dyson offers her own reasons for entering cosmonaut training, writing from Russia's Star City facility outside Moscow.

MOSCOW – Most people who know of me think of me as an information-technology expert, someone who probably lives in California and invests in edgy Internet start-ups. In fact, my formal residence is in New York City, but I am about to spend most of the next five months in Russia, training to be a cosmonaut in Star City, just outside Moscow. 

It all came about in a number of ways. First of all, as a kid, I just assumed that I would go to the moon, without having to do much in particular to make it happen. I just took it for granted that, by the time I was, say, 40, space travel would be a common thing. My father was involved with the United States space program, and we had some moon rocks at home, so I thought it was no big deal.

Then I got distracted for about 40 years. A few years ago, however, I started paying attention to space again. A lot of people I knew in the IT industry were doing the same: Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, founded Space-X; Jeff Bezos of Amazon started a spacecraft company called Blue Origin; Jeff Greason, a senior manager at Intel, started XCOR Aerospace (in which I’m an investor). In 2005, the last year I held my PC Forum conference for IT entrepreneurs, I started a conference called Flight School for entrepreneurs in space and private aviation.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in


Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.