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Photos: Ticket to ride into space

American Greg Olsen is in the middle of his $20 million dream vacation to the International Space Station.
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1 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet
A ticket cost $20 million--but that didn't stop Greg Olsen from hopping a ride on a Russian spacecraft to visit the International Space Station. Olsen, whose flight was arranged by extreme travel agency Space Adventures, was launched with the station's next two-man crew on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005. He will remain in orbit for nine days, returning with the outgoing crew.

Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev, right, greets (from top) the Expedition 12 Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, Greg Olsen, and Commander William McArthur.

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Greg Olsen's travel package included more than 900 hours of extensive training in Star City, Russia, in preparation for this mission. He will participate in a research program prepared by the European Space Agency that will study the human body's response to the microgravity environment. The tests will study the possible cause of nausea and lower back pain.

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Here, Greg Olsen trains on a simulated instrument panel.

Olsen made his fortune by selling his first company, Epitaxx, for $12 million. He then founded Sensors Unlimited in 1992, sold it for $700 million in 2000, repurchased it for $6 million in 2002, and sold it again for $60 million.

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Astronaut William S. McArthur Jr., Expedition 12 commander and NASA Space Station science officer, and cosmonaut Valery I. Tokarev (obscured), a station flight engineer representing Russia's Federal Space Agency, train underwater for upcoming space walks to work on the exterior of the space station.

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Greg Olsen relaxes on his water wings during training for water landings.

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soyuz

A Soyuz rocket successfully launched on Oct. 1, sending Greg Olsen and the International Space Station Expedition 12 crew into orbit.

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Another perk of Greg Olsen's space adventure included a tour of Red Square with Russian space officials.

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International Space Station

The International Space Station as photographed from the space shuttle Discovery earlier this year.

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