June 11, The Guardian

The Google co-founder Sergey Brin has invested in a US space tourism company and hopes to go into orbit himself within three years, according to a report today.

The 34-year-old president of the web search giant has put £2.5m into Space Adventures, which has already sent five space tourists into orbit, the New York Times said.

The investment also serves as a deposit on a future flight, most likely in 2011, the paper said.

"I am a big believer in the exploration and commercial development of the space frontier, and am looking forward to the possibility of going into space," Brin said in a statement.

Space Adventures clients travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on Russian Soyuz flights, occupying one of three seats on the craft.

The Russian space agency has warned that berths for tourists could disappear from 2010, when the ISS crew expands from three to six, requiring all the seats on the Soyuz.

Russian space officials are reportedly not keen on space tourism and carry paying passengers reluctantly as a means of raising revenue.

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photo: Sergey Brin, left, with fellow Google co-founder Larry Page. (Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty)