the first african in space
the crew

Letters and Endorsements

Want to send your thoughts? Contact the Editors!

The Western Cape Education Department and the teachers and learners in the province congratulate Mark and wish him a safe and successful journey.
The South African Medical Research Council (MRC) congratulates the team and talks about the value of the science experiments in this letter by Mr. Malegapuru Makgoba, president of the MRC.
The University of Cape Town's astronomy department expresses its envy at the opportunity to see first hand that which it spends its time observing through the atmosphere .this letter from Prof. Fairall.
Prof. Noakes writes to commend the project on its work to inspire South Africans to renew the interest among younger members of society in scientific enquiry.



S'bu Shandu , the Manager Business Strategy, National Ports Authority of South Africa, Port of Durban, on behalf of his Family, his Organisation and Transnet at large wishes to let you know how proud we are of our first African and specifically South African to "surf" Space as an Astronaut.

I have been closely following the chain of events and was highly impressed when you said that the purpose of this venture was not of a Commercial nature BUT to encourage the young South Africans to "think" BIG. You also said that they do not have to do what you did but your venture could serve as a springboard for yet more gallant ventures that they can undertake.

It was also very impressive to note that you are not just an ordinary tourist on this Venture but some of our Scientific Research Organisations have asked you to conduct some Experiments that shall not benefit only South Africans, nor Africans, BUT the world at large. You really have put us on the Map as a Global Player and you have demonstrated "unselfishness". One of our Core values as NPA of SA is " the well-being of the Communities in which we operate" and this you have gallantly and unequivocally demonstrated.

I am challenging anyone who reads this message with you, to join me in asking our President, Mr Thabo Mbeki ( whom according to what I have read supports you 100%) to give you the recognition of the Highest Order ever given by South Africa to any individual ( South African or not).

At the age of 7 years your mind went up there, and a few minutes ago you realized your "Dream" "Vision" of getting your body up there as well. I salute you, My brother and WE salute you !!

Our Slogan at National Ports Authority of South Africa is " The World is closer than you think" and you have just persuaded my mind to think that " The Space is closer than I thought" Please accept this as a joke : " The Space is only a couple of hundreds of million Rands closer" .

Enjoy it up there , My Brother, and your Family is so proud of you.


S'busiso Shandu

A poem about you okey

To Mark when you were up in space i made a poem about you okey

to dear old Mark you went up there and it was a task
and we ve all been watching in the past and had a very big laugh
the way you laugh and the way you cried was just a way of knowing you tried.

with lots of love kirsty
( grade six Mrs De Muter. Hish Hoek Primary)

An ultimate space suit that canıt be worn

To mark from A proud student. You are a very lucky guy who actually got a chance to make your dream come true. My dream is to be a fashion designer and I am good at it I must admit.Oh and just to let you know Im in grade six. How does it feel to be the first South African in space? I could even design an ultimate space suit that cant be worn especially for you. But I wont have the fabric and stuff for it but it was just an idea.

Your pen pal Amanda Tshokotshela.

Fly me to the moon

Congratulations, Mark Shuttleworth!

When I was a high school student (1968), I was intrigued by the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey -- in which Arthur Clarke took a visionary look at the future of humanity in space. It is now 2002, and some parts of the Clarke story have come to pass. In 1968 there was a Hilton hotel aboard a large orbiting space station. The ISS might not have all the creature comforts of a Hilton hotel, or the food served in the Earthlight Room. But tonight, there is a tourist aboard ISS -- one with a keen interest in the past, present and future of space exploration and space technology.

When I was a college studemt, I witnessed another chapter from 2001 come true. I was with my father at the Kennedy Space Center when Apollo 17 was launched on the last manned mission to the Moon. My father had been very involved with the lunar program. I was awestruck by the sight of three men on their way to another world. And that night I vowed to do something to help send humans back to the Moon some day.

Twenty-five years later, I wrote a book about Apollo called MOON MISSIONS. The Foreword was written by Apollo 17 geologist-astronaut, Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt. Jack was a little bit like you. He was not an experienced pilot or astronaut. And he had to learn those duties from scratch. But he was a visionary. And he still is. His foreword was not about past Moon missions. It was about future Moon bases. And I am proud to call him my friend.

Jack is currently doing research at the University of Wisconsin (in Madison) on a project that would not only send humans back to the Moon, but also provide low-cost, pollution-free electrical power for people around the world -- especially in developing countries. The idea is to utilize helium-3 mined from the lunar soil in fusion power plants here on Earth. It could forever change the way the people live on this planet. And it would enable developing countries to have the energy they require to grow their economies. It is a noble vision, as well as an exciting one!

Your interest in making space accessible to more people (and more nations) -- and in utilizing space technology for the advancement of people on your own continet and around our planet, is a marvelous way to do some real good. And I applaud you on your vision and your commitment. I know it took a lot more than money to earn your seat aboard Soyuz TM-34. It took hard work, dedication, and the ability to dream. As Albert Einstein said, vision is more important than knowledge!

Enjoy this flight. And when you get back, remember that you are still young enough to go to the Moon some day if you so desire! I envy (and admire) you. You have truly got the right stuff!

God speed, Mark Shuttleworth.


William F. (Bill) Mellberg
Park Ridge, Illinois (USA)
Author of Moon Missions: Mankinds First Voyages to Another World

Was it very skeary?

To Mark Shuttleworth . I am very happy that you have maid your dream up to you. Mark you are very breave at your work. Was it very skeary. My name is Lelethu from Fish Hoek Pramary School I saw you on big skreen your mom was very happy and she was crying.

From Lelethu Nkwandla

Standing together


I think the last time all of South Africa stood together like these past few weeks was when we won the Rugby World Cup.

Your adventure ensured that the City of Tshwane (Pretoria) took a resolution to congratulate you for what you have done for science and technology in SA at its recent council meeting. On one of the rare occasions all the political parties agreed that one should look past the petty politics of our day to day lives and become one nation again. I would agree that your adventure was money very well spend. We all hope you enjoy your holiday and wish you all of the best on your next adventure.

Clr Juan Quinn
Member of the Mayoral Committee
Community Development (Arts, Culture, Sport, Youth and Gender)
City of Tshwane

Great achievement

Hi Mark

May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your great achievement. As a South African, I have no sufficient words to describe your immense contribution our countryıs' future in terms of science, technology, tourism, exposure, image etc.

Unlike the negative letters we read from some of our local newspapers questioning your African identity, you are real Patriot and a great asset to our country as compared to those ill informed louts who are a liability to our cause. Please let not those negative comments make you doubt your Africanness and discourage you in your plans, both personal and for your beloved country and its people.You have demonstrated your patriotism in many ways by donating a million rands to each of your former employees including the cleaners, tea lady and the driver, by proudly displaying our National flag on the space ship, proudly wearing the Bafana Bafana jersey in space, contributing funds towards the Nelson Mandela Childrenıs Fund school building projects, contributing your time and expertise towards President Mbekis' Science & Technology Advisory Committee, just to mention a few.

May the good Lord protect you and continue to prosper you.


Lebitsi O. Leburu ­ Mafikeng

Previous letters here!

Landing Countdown to 05:51 05 May

Landing Complete!

The Team
Mark Shuttleworth
Dale Cupido
Karen Sharwood
Lara Keytel
Danie Barry
Freddy Khan
Vaughan Oosthuizen
Ravi Naidoo
Vuyo Dwane
Richard Mills
Nicolette Cronje
Wayne Derman
Peter Ribton
medical research council
uct : astronomy
uct : sports science
recent letters
previous letters
see also
about the mission
Hot Links
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Us
Gallery Highlights

Church of Jesus Christ

Zero-G Heart Rate Data

Next-generation Soyuz TMA Cockpit

Mig-25 Afterburners