Dennis Tito shows a big grin and thumbs up after safely returning to Earth. He really enjoyed his trip to space!
photographer Reuters (
News story originally written on May 9, 2001
Dennis Tito, the world's first paying space tourist has returned safely back to Earth
. Tito summed up his whole trip with these words, "It was perfect. It was paradise."
Dennis Tito is a 60-year-old American businessman who used to work for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It had always been Tito's dream to travel into space. And now he has done just that!
After NASA's rejection of his request to be taken as a civilian into space, Tito turned to the Russian Space Agency. Tito was able to buy astronaut training time, a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) in the Soyuz capsule, 6 days aboard the ISS, and of course, a return ticket back to Earth. All of this, for the price of $20 million!
Many people were critical of Tito's trip into space. NASA certainly wasn't thrilled at the prospect of Tito hanging out in the multi-billion dollar space station. In fact, they made Tito sign a contract saying that if he broke or damaged anything, he would have to pay for it (and no, he didn't break anything!). But, the Russian cosmonauts (Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin) who accompanied Tito on this trip to the ISS said they enjoyed having him along and that he was just one of the crew. And Dennis Tito certainly thought the trip was well worth it. During a press conference after the trip, Tito said his 8 days in space were 10 times better than he expected and he said that he could've stayed up there for months! Tito doesn't have plans to return to space, but encourages others to pursue this and other adventures!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible at the same time in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see. You won't want to miss this!...more