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.

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