Richard Garriott Reaches Orbit, Can Finally Act Out Plot of Tabula Rasa

Computer game millionaire Richard Garriott is now in orbit. At about 3 a.m., the current luckiest geek in the world blasted off in a Soyuz TMA-13 capsule alongside U.S. astronaut Michael Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov. The three will circle the Earth a few times before docking with the International Space Station on Tuesday. At that time, Garriott will conduct a series of experiments that will probably not include level grinding in his sci-fi MMORPG, Tabula Rasa. One thing Garriott and company may not be able to do when they reach the ISS? Go to the bathroom. Update: Now with video:

This is because the $US19 million toilet (?!) isn't sucking up waste like it's supposed to—just as it wasn't doing a few months ago. A replacement pooper isn't scheduled to arrive until November.

Frankly, we don't know what's worse this morning: The fact that a white-knuckle ballistic re-entry could be in Garriott's future (as it was for Soyuz capsule cosmonauts over the past few years); or that floating, zero-G space poo could turn his once-in-a-lifetime journey into the world's worst obstacle course.


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