South African Millionaire Blasts Off on Space Tour, Will Conduct HIV Research on Space Station
South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth this morning became the world's second space tourist after he blasted off from Russia for the International Space Station, where he will conduct scientific experiments on HIV, the New York Times reports. Shuttleworth and two others will be on board a taxi flight that is bringing a new Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the space station. Shuttleworth paid South African universities and researchers to develop several experiments that he and his fellow crew members will conduct on board the station (Leary, New York Times, 4/24). One study will examine the interaction of immune cells in a microgravity environment. Because the cells are too small to be observed directly, the research will use a process called soluble protein crystallization to examine immune cell reaction. The other experiments will involve stem cells, the effect of microgravity on the human body and the impact of the launch on educational objectives. The costs for the experiments will be covered by Shuttleworth, and the results will be made public when the studies are complete (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/6/01). Shuttleworth, the first African resident to go into space, will return to Earth on May 5 after eight days at the ISS (Nedbayeva, Agence France-Presse, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.