Software Engineer Billionaire Treat Himself in Space

I am sure there are lots of rich technical people or companies paying engineers higher than project managers in the US; but here in our country, it is exactly the opposite. Having said that, it makes me happy whenever I read about a technical person amassing riches through his hard skills instead of a managerial type of skills.

Charles Simonyi, an engineer who joined Microsoft and developed Ms Word and Excel, has a net worth at around $1 Billion based in this year’s Forbes magazine rankings. At 58 he is shelling out $20 to $25 million to Space Adventures, Ltd. to become their 5th space tourist. In an excerpt at CNN: Charles Simonyi, 58, left Hungary at 17, roughly a decade after the Soviet Union launched the Space Age by sending Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit. He came to the United States to study engineering and computer science, and went on to help develop two of the world’s most popular software applications, Microsoft Corp.’s Word and Excel.
“Of course Dr. Simonyi has been successful in a much larger way on Earth than we’ve been in space,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, Ltd., the Vienna, Virginia, company that Simonyi is paying to take him to the International Space Station on March 9, 2007, aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Simonyi, whose net worth is estimated at $1 billion in this year’s Forbes magazine rankings of the richest Americans, is paying $20 million to $25 million to be the company’s fifth space tourist. He was reticent to discuss the cost of his adventure, although he and Anderson both mused about the way things like computers and presumably space flight get cheaper with time.
Simonyi described his physical and mental training for space flight as being vigorous and energizing. He said he has enjoyed meeting both American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, although he hadn’t yet worked with the two cosmonauts he would join in the rocket to orbit.
Although he will be helping with science experiments and some menial tasks aboard the space station, Simonyi said he will be spending a lot of time just hanging out, observing, taking pictures and looking out the window.

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