Rich Guys in Space? Richard Garriott Beat Jeff Bezos There by Over a Decade.

The game developer and adventurer spent 10 days onboard the International Space Station, and filmed a sci-fi movie while he was there.

Space tourist Richard Garriott walks with his father US astronaut Owen Garriott before boarding the spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, on October 12, 2008.
Space tourist Richard Garriott walks with his father, U.S. astronaut Owen Garriott, before boarding the spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 12, 2008.

Before Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos “tipped” into outer space, there was Richard Garriott.

Admittedly a mere multi-millionaire, Garriott is probably best known as the developer of the extremely popular ’80s computer game Ultima. But he is also the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, and could claim to be the first rich business person to fund himself a space flight — and one that lasted days, not minutes.

As Decider points out, the younger Garriott spent 12 days in space in 2008, and 10 of those were on the International Space Station. Overall, he spent $30 million for the adventure, although some of those funds went back into companies that the programmer and entrepreneur owned.

Most impressively, Garriott didn’t just go up for bragging rights. Besides participating in educational, photographic and scientific programs, he got two films out of his adventure, a documentary about his journey called Man on a Mission (currently streaming on Tubi) and a sci-fi film he shot called entitled Apogee of Fear. Only eight minutes in length, the latter movie is available as a special feature on the Mission DVD and a NASA-approved version is available on YouTube.

As Decider writes, Garriott also put himself through G-forces training and taught himself Russian — because it was the Russians who allowed him onboard the ISS.

And he hasn’t stopped exploring; recently elected the 45th president of the The Explorers Club, Garriott also traveled down to the lowest point on Earth, the Mariana Trench, earlier this year.


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