Space Tourist Pushes for Space Travel

APKononenko, left, Volkov and Garriott shaking hands in Star City on Monday.
STAR CITY, Moscow Region — NASA, the Federal Space Agency and other government space agencies need to give private entrepreneurs broader access to the orbiting station and encourage private space travel, the latest U.S. space tourist said Monday.

Three days after returning to Earth following a 12-day journey in space, Richard Garriott described his time aboard Russian-built Soyuz capsules and the orbiting station and promised to publish results of his scientific observations from the trip.

Among the work he did was comparing photographs taken 35 years ago by his father, Owen, when he was aboard the U.S. space station Skylab and looking for changes in the Earth's environment since then.

Garriott, a computer game designer, is the sixth space tourist to have flown to the international space station. He is also a board member and investor in Space Adventures, the U.S. company that has organized all the space tourist flights. Garriott said the Federal Space Agency should expand its human flight programs. "I hope that NASA, Roskosmos and other partners find a way to encourage entrepreneurs such as myself and other companies and other countries to take advantage of this amazing resource we now have in space," he said, referring to the space station.

Garriott was joined in his return to Earth by cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Volkov.