Garriott blasts off

Garriott blasts off
Michael French

By Michael French

October 13th 2008 at 1:50PM

Noted MMO designer becomes the first British space tourist after months of training

After a year of training and research, NCsoft's Richard Garriott has finally fulfilled a lifelong dream this weekend by becoming the first British-born space tourist at the weekend.

Garriott has has become an astronaut stationed at the International Space Station, paying a reported £20m - allegedly the entirely of his personal fortune, amassed after the founding of his Origin studio (sold to EA in the early 90s) and investment in NCsoft - to conduct experiments in outer space.

The 47-year-old joins an 18-strong crew of international astronauts, having taken off in a rocket launch from Kazkhstan managed by private company Space Adventures in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Garriott, known in the industry as Lord British - his online username, told UK free paper The Metro: "It's great to sport the British flag in space."

He was born in Cambridge, UK although he grew up in Texas, USA, the son of astronaut Owen Garriott.

Garriott Jr added: "I'm now feeling my British heritgage a lot more than I used to, feeling proud of it. I hope British people will be proud of me too."

"I'm elated, elated," added his father.