News reports out of Melbourne, Australia over the weekend indicated that Space Adventures had selected an Australian-born millionaire to be the backup to Richard Garriott on his trip to the ISS next October. “Self-described ‘thrillionaire’ Nik Halik has been named as the back-up crewman for next year’s October commercial flight to the International Space Station,” reported the Herald Sun. Another paper, The Age, also reported that Halik said that he had been selected as the backup for the trip, putting him in “a good position to lead the next flight in 2009″.
There’s just one problem with all this, as you might imagine upon reading this far: Halik hasn’t been selected yet by Space Adventures to be the backup. According to company spokesperson Stacey Tearne, Halik is indeed one of the candidates to pay $3 million to be Garriott’s backup, but no decision has been made. A selection will be made in January “at the latest”, she said in an email this morning.
Little details like that aren’t stopping Halik from dreaming big, though. According to the Herald Sun he said he wants not only to go to the ISS some day, but also “be one of the first to colonise the moon”. “By 2018, the Japanese want to colonise it and have a moon base and use it to explore the galaxy,” he told the paper. (This may be news to the Japanese.)
It appears that Halik, who made his money through investments and investment seminars (“over 31,178 people have already attended his Mastery Educational Events”), has been pursuing this goal for some time, according to this 2006 article:
In 2003, Nik commenced his training through the Russian Orbital Space Program. Having completed his Edge of Space supersonic flight and Zero Gravity training flight just recently in Moscow, he will be the first recorded Australian civilian to fly Sub-Orbit soon, qualifying him the status of being certified as an astronaut. The next adventure after this will be his ultimate mission and destiny to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) for a fortnight orbital stay. Nik, alongside his sponsors is planning on executing the first history making stock market trade in SPACE.