Military sensor designer prepares to return to Earth

MOSCOW, 10 Oct. 2005. U.S. scientist Gregory Olsen and a two-man Russian-American crew made final preparations to leave the international space station Monday, ending a seven-day trip for the millionaire businessman as the third private citizen to visit the orbiting outpost.

Oct 10th, 2005

MOSCOW, 10 Oct. 2005. U.S. scientist Gregory Olsen and a two-man Russian-American crew made final preparations to leave the international space station Monday, ending a seven-day trip for the millionaire businessman as the third private citizen to visit the orbiting outpost.

Olsen is the co-founder and chairman of Sensors Unlimited, Inc. (SUI).

Founded in 1991 to pioneer design and production of near-infrared detectors, SUI specializes in indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) imaging technology. The company manufactures advanced infrared cameras, shortwave-IR and near-IR focal plane arrays and revolutionary high speed PIN and avalanche photodiodes.

SUI delivers high-performance products for a variety of critical military, security, industrial, commercial and telecommunications industries. Applications include covert surveillance, machine vision, night vision, health and safety protocols, historical art inspection and more. For more information, see www.sensorsinc.com.

After the incoming crew formally takes over command of the station, Olsen, cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and astronaut John Phillips will climb into a Soyuz capsule, undock from the station and begin the fiery, 3 1-2-hour descent en route to a landing on Kazakhstan's barren steppe.

The three will spend two hours undergoing medical checks following landing, then be flown by helicopter to a Kazakh staging point and ultimately back to Moscow for further examinations.

Krikalev and Phillips have inhabited the station since April, during which time Krikalev passed the mark of 800 cumulative days in space -- breaking the previous record of 748 days set in the late 1990s by cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev over three missions.

Krikalev spent two long stints aboard Russia's Mir station, and flew twice on NASA's space shuttles. He was also part of the international space station's first crew nearly five years ago.

Astronaut William McArthur and cosmonaut Valery Tokarev will spend six months on the station, during which time they will conduct at least two spacewalks, as well as scientific experiments, medical checks and routine maintenance.

The next cargo shipment that McArthur and Tokarev can expect will be a Russian Progress ship, scheduled to reach the station in December. For more information, see www.federalspace.ru or http://spaceflight.nasa.gov.

Russian media reported Monday that the botched launch of a costly, state-of-the-art European satellite, coinciding with Russia's failure to recover an experimental space vehicle after its blast-off, have dented the reputation of Russia's space program and jeopardized its hopes of earning foreign cash.

The loss of the CryoSat satellite due to the failure of a Russian Rokot booster dealt a major blow to the European Space Agency, which had hoped to conduct a three-year mapping of polar sea ice and provide more reliable data for the study of global warming.

Russia's Khrunichev company, which built the booster, apologized for the loss of the estimated $210 million CryoSat.

"Moscow's space ambitions have sunk in the Arctic Ocean," the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta commented.

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