Not a slow news week for space

* "Space tourist" Gregory Olsen, NASA astronaut Cmdr. William McArthur, and Russian astronaut Valery Tokarev took off for the International Space Station this morning aboard Soyuz. Image: the craft just before launch at dawn in Baikonur. NYT story Link. Olsen is a dot-com millionaire; McArthur has flown in space several times and is set to be the next International Space Station commander. Tokarev serves as flight engineer for this mission. While they're all up there, they'll be inhaling a bunch of dust. It's a scientific experiment intended to benefit asthma sufferers back on Earth. Link

* DOOM godfather John Carmack will premiere his privately-funded spaceship at next week's inaugural gathering of the commercial space industry. Oh yeah, and, two words: rocket races! Link to Wired News story.

* Russian cosmonaut Gennady Sarafanov, who in 1974 commanded an unsuccessful mission to the Salyut 3 space station, died last Thursday at age 63. Link

* This Wednesday, October 5, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum formally adds SpaceShipOne to the "Milestones of Flight" gallery in its building at the National Mall in Washington, DC. SS1 was the first privately built and funded craft to reach space — last year — and will reside next to Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and Chuck Yeager's Bell X-1. Paul Allen and Burt Rutan are expected to attend the dedication ceremony.

(Thanks, Michael Nank and Michael Grabois!)