Gregory Olsen

  • Soyuz TMA -6 TMA-7/Sojus (2005)

Gregory Hammond Olsen ( born April 20, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York City ) is an American entrepreneur. He became known as the third space tourist to the International Space Station. Before him, in 2001 the American Dennis Tito and a year later traveled into space, the South African Mark Shuttleworth.

Olsen first attended the Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and majored in physics and electrical engineering. After he had acquired a bachelor's degree in 1966, he focused entirely on the physics and two years later received a master. After the completion of studies in physics, he earned his doctorate in 1971 at the University of Virginia in the area of ​​materials science.

Then Olsen went to South Africa and taught at the University of Port Elizabeth for a year physics. In 1972 he returned to the United States and included the following eleven years to the scientific staff of the RCA Laboratories in New Jersey. There he conducted research mainly on light detectors and laser diodes. Together with Vladimir Ban, head of RCA Laboratories, located Olsen in 1984 were self-employed and founded the company EPITAXX. Only six years later, they sold the company for the production of fiber optic cables for twelve million dollars.

Olsen, who holds a dozen patents, called in 1991 with Dr. Marshall J. Cohen Sensors Unlimited to life. He was CEO of the company in Princeton (New Jersey) for infrared cameras. In 2000, Sensors Unlimited was sold for 600 million U.S. dollars to Finisar Corporation. Olsen and Cohen were but still in front of the society. It was only in April 2004 gave Olsen, who was preparing in Russia on his space flight, the presidency and chairmanship to Cohen from.

Olsen flew to the ISS Expedition 12 on board Soyuz TMA -7 on 1 October 2005 to the space station and returned on October 11, Soyuz TMA -6 and the exchanged ISS Expedition 11 returns to Earth. He spent a total of nine days and 21 hours in space and conducted on board the ISS astronomical and remote sensing experiments. For his journey, he paid about 20 million dollars ( 16.6 million euros ).

In May 2006, donated Gregory Olsen, who is divorced and has two children, Fairleigh Dickinson University a sum of five million U.S. dollars.