Dr. Simonyi’s goals for his spaceflight are to advance civilian space travel, assist with space station research, and involve young people in the science of space travel. His Web site, www.charlesinspace.com
, will interest space enthusiasts of all ages. Throughout the next several months, He will share pictures and experiences on the site, giving visitors unique insights into his mission every step of the way.
Dr. Simonyi’s mission to the ISS is the latest destination in a life defined by exploration and discovery. Born in Budapest, he had a passion for science, math, technology and space at a very young age. Thanks to his father, a professor of electrical engineering, Dr. Simonyi learned computer programming early in life, which would shape his professional career for decades and enable him to achieve his entrepreneurial dreams. Simultaneously, he took a path that would lead him to realize his second dream, spaceflight. At the age of 13, Dr. Simonyi represented Hungary as a junior Cosmonaut and won a trip to Moscow to meet one of the first Cosmonauts, Pavel Popovich. He also became a trained pilot in multi-engine aircraft, currently holds licenses in jets and helicopters, and has logged more than 2,000 hours of flying time. In 2007, he became the fifth private citizen to travel into space.
Dr. Simonyi earned his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University. From 1972 to 1980, Dr. Simonyi worked at Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He left PARC to join Microsoft Corporation, where Dr. Simonyi held the titles of Director of Application Development, Chief Architect and Distinguished Engineer, leading the development of Microsoft Word and Excel.
In August of 2002, Dr. Simonyi left Microsoft and founded Intentional Software Corporation, an engineering company focused on improving the way organizations write software. He then founded the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences in 2003 to support arts organizations, and science institutions, such as the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, among others.
Dr. Simonyi is married to Lisa Persdotter who worked in asset management and marketing.