the first african in space
the crew

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth is an African entrepreneur with a deep interest in technology. This passion led him to Star City, Russia, where he is training for a flight to the International Space Station in April 2002.

He funds HBD, a venture-capital company based in South Africa, and TSF, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the quality of education in Africa. He currently lives in London when not “on assignment”, and spends much time travelling in search of new opportunities in global technology.

Mark was born in the dusty gold-mining town of Welkom in South Africa, and grew up in Cape Town. His fascination with technology started at a tender age when he discovered computer games, and not too much has changed in that respect. His interest in science covers an eclectic selection of disciplines, in particular particle physics, software engineering, digital media and biotechnology. While studying towards a Business Science (Finance) degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT), he first encountered the Internet, and quickly became fascinated with the changes it would bring in business and society.

In 1995, his final year at UCT, Mark founded Thawte Consulting, as an Internet consulting business. The focus of the company quickly shifted to Internet security for electronic commerce. Thawte ( became the first company to produce a full-security e-commerce web server that was commercially available outside the United States. This brought Thawte to the world of public key infrastructure, which is the basis for all encrypted and authenticated Internet transactions. By the time it was acquired by VeriSign in the USA, Thawte had become the fastest-growing Internet Certificate Authority, and was the leading Certificate Authority outside of the US.

Since the heady days of 1999, Mark has formed a new project team called HBD ( The name is a reference to the phrase “Here Be Dragons”, which was used to describe uncharted territory on early maps. HBD is a venture-capital company seeking to invest in innovative technology companies that are based in South Africa but that have the potential to serve a global marketplace. As well as funding HBD, he also serves as a non-executive director of the company.

He has created a non-profit organisation that supports innovation in education in Africa. The Shuttleworth Foundation ( seeks to fund projects that demonstrate a significantly better approach to some aspect of the education system and hopes to improve both the quality and the reach of education in Africa.

Mark believes that developing countries need to find their own voice in the digital era. To this end, he also funds and serves on the board of ( - an international non-profit organisation that seeks to address digital divide issues both through grass-roots work and high-level policy dialogue.

Likes: spring, cesaria evora, slashdot, chelsea, finally seeing something obvious for the first time, daydreaming, coming home, sinatra, sundowners, durbanville, flirting, string theory, linux, python, mp3s, reincarnation, snow, mig-29s, travel, lime marmalade, mozilla, body shots, leopards, the african bush, rajhastan, russian saunas, weightlessness, broadband, iain m banks, skinny-dipping, fancy dress, flashes of insight, inexplicable happinesses, post-adrenaline euphoria.

Dislikes: admin, legalese, running, London winters, salary negotiations, anxiety, public speaking.

This project depends on the experience and commitment of a large and talented team: many, many people and organisations are involved. Click here to read about them, and send them huge amounts of praise and encouragement!

Mark Shuttleworth

June 2002
June 10, 2002 Ticker-tape parade today
June 10, 2002 Parade a crowd-puller
June 03, 2002 The Afronaut has landed
May 2002
May 09, 2002 Back down to Earth
May 04, 2002 Mark talks to learners in Khayalitsha
May 03, 2002 HAM Q&A Sessions
May 02, 2002 Madiba, Mark and Marriage
April 2002
April 30, 2002 HAM Radio excitement
April 28, 2002 Point of view
April 07, 2002 Final exam
April 03, 2002 Clocking docking sims
March 2002
March 31, 2002 Under pressure
March 11, 2002 Grooving in Gagarin
February 2002
February 28, 2002 First fitting
February 27, 2002 Home is where the silver trees are
February 09, 2002 Toilet training
February 07, 2002 head rush
February 06, 2002 nightmares and jetlag and zero-g, oh my!
February 05, 2002 Designer Space Suits
February 03, 2002 City of the Stars
February 02, 2002 Houston wrap-up
January 2002
January 29, 2002 Lost Property for the 21st century
January 28, 2002 Something old, something new
January 22, 2002 presence of mind
January 20, 2002 a night at the ballet
January 18, 2002 situation - off nominal
January 17, 2002 blowing hot and cold
January 16, 2002 computer woes
January 15, 2002 gravity? optional
January 14, 2002 spaceman wuss

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
About Mark
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Church of Jesus Christ

Zero-G Heart Rate Data

Next-generation Soyuz TMA Cockpit

Mig-25 Afterburners