Google Co-Founder Books Space Journey

Sergey Brin 2005 & 2004 United States

First came the announcement of a massive new development center on NASA property. Now Google co-founder Sergey Brin is planning to go directly to space himself.

Brin is one of six people slated to be on the first Space Adventures tourist trip to the International Space Station, according to an announcement made this morning. Brin evidently made a $5 million investment in the company, which likely helped land him the hard-to-secure spot. A normal ticket would be in the ballpark of $20-30 million.

Space Adventures is planning to use a Soyuz — a Russian spacecraft designed, oddly enough, by another guy named Sergey — to take paying customers on its own private missions to the ISS. So far, five space cowboys have dropped big dough on out-of-this-world journeys, but they’ve all been traveling with NASA. Brin’s trip would be the first private launch. He has mentioned the year 2011 as a target date.

In an interesting twist, NASA is apparently looking at using some seats on the Soyuz in the future as well — which could put Brin in an awkward position, given his company’s relationship with the space agency.

ZDNet’s Larry Dignan has some perspective into other potential problems that could arise, too, raising the question of whether Brin needs a “risk-limiting clause” in his Google contract.