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US Software Engineer Launched Into Space

The Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-10 carrying U.S. billionaire Charles Simonyi and two Russian cosmonauts has been successfully launched on its mission to the International Space Station carrying.

Simonyi and Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at about 11:30 p.m. local time Saturday.

The cosmonauts will stay on the space station for six months, while Simonyi returns to Earth April 20 with two members of the current space station crew.

Simonyi is the fifth person to buy a ride into space. The tourist paid the Russian space agency and a U.S. company more than $20 million for the trip.

He has has been training for the mission outside Moscow since last year. He will participate in experiments on radiation levels and biological organisms during his visit to the space station.