BAIKONUR (AFP) - American millionaire video game guru Richard Garriott followed in his astronaut father's footsteps Sunday, blasting off aboard a Russian rocket to become the world's sixth space tourist. Sealed inside the Soyuz TMA-13 capsule together with a Russian cosmonaut and US astronaut, Garriott was catapulted towards the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur base in the dusty steppes of Kazakhstan at 0701 GMT. Several hundred observers were present at the launch sight and they applauded as the rocket roared off the launch pad and rose into the blue skies overhead. Within 10 minutes of the launch, controllers confirmed the spacecraft had entered its planned orbit. Champagne corks popped as family and friends of the crew celebrated the apparently successful start of the mission. "I'm very happy for him," said Garriott's girlfriend, Kelly Miller, tears welling up in her eyes. "It's one of the things he always wanted to do... I feel like it's well worth the opportunity." The flight, which cost Garriott 30 million dollars, was programmed to settle into orbit about nine minutes after take-off and reach the ISS at 0833 GMT on Tuesday. Garriott now becomes the first American to follow a parent into space, hopes to be able to recoup the money he paid for the experience. Unlike the five space tourists who came before him, Garriott views space as a family business. His father is former US astronaut Owen Garriott, who in 1973 spent two months aboard Skylab, the first orbiting space station. "I grew up in a family of astronauts and I always wanted to do what my father did," the 47-year-old said ahead of his long-awaited departure. Owen Garriott, also present at his son's launch, seemed well pleased with his son. "It's marvellous," the elder Garriot said after the rocket roared off the launch pad. "Very good."