Bill Gates is considering a possible flight into space according to the French news agency, AFP. A Russian cosmonaut revealed the news while orbiting the planet on the International Space Station on Wednesday. The source of the story was apparently Gates’ former colleague, current Charles Simonyi, the most wealthy space tourist to orbit the planet earth so far and likely to see this record broken should Gates make the trip. According to cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, "Charles said that Bill Gates is also preparing to visit space so the next time someone will be with Bill Gates. For me this is the biggest surprise of our flight." The news was revealed during a broadcast from space seen on Russian TV. According to AFP, the likely first available flight for Gates could be as early as 2009. A spokesman for the Russian space agency, Igor Panarin, confirmed that Gates had visited the space centre near Moscow “several months ago at the cosmonaut training centre at Star City” but refused to say if talk of making the trip himself was mentioned by Gates at the time. It is unlikely that Microsoft could raise any issues that would prevent such a trip since Gates is Chairman but holds no line management position. Companies could get quite jumpy of senior management started popping up into space every time they felt like blowing a few millions. And goodness knows, there was a time when Gates’ enemies may have wished for nothing better than for Bill to risk his neck in something as foolhardy as space travel. Now, they would probably only ask if he could persuade Steve Ballmer to make the trip.
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