Spacewalking Hopes Dashed, Businessman Sues Space Adventures

Daisuke Enomoto says Space Adventures of Vienna used his kidney stones as an excuse to deny him a space vacation. He hopes to recoup his payment in court.
Daisuke Enomoto says Space Adventures of Vienna used his kidney stones as an excuse to deny him a space vacation. He hopes to recoup his payment in court. (Associated Press)
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Daisuke Enomoto wants his $21 million back.

The Japanese businessman is suing Space Adventures of Vienna, saying the company used his health problems as a pretense for denying him a 10-day orbital vacation and intergalactic walk on the International Space Station after he refused to pay $10 million on top of what he had already shelled out.

Enomoto, according to court documents, believed he was racing to be the first private citizen to conduct such a space walk but did not want to go through with the trip if he could not complete one. The company, in its argument to dismiss the case, said that because Enomoto has kidney stones, which are potentially dangerous in space, his money was not refundable.

A judge in U.S. District Court in Alexandria heard arguments Friday. Attorneys for Enomoto and Space Adventures did not return phone calls for comment Friday. A spokeswoman for Space Adventures, Stacey Tearne, declined to comment on the case in an e-mail.

The drama centers on a company founded by a local pioneer for the relatively new space-tourism industry. Eric Anderson founded Space Adventures at the age of 23, more than a decade ago, though the space trips have begun only in recent years. Richard Garriott, a video game developer, was the company's sixth client, landing at a Kazakhstan base last month after completing a journey to the International Space Station.

In an interview with Wired magazine in September, Enomoto said that as he grew up in Tokyo, coding his own computer games, he hoped to one day go to space. "I just want to go up there and chill," he told Wired.

-- Alejandro Lazo


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