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Dennis Tito

Dennis Tito is the first official space tourist in history having paid for his own $20 million ticket for the flight. Although multimillionaire Dennis Tito doesn't like being called a space tourist, he was given this moniker by the media for his historic flight in April 2001 aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-32 to the International Space Station (ISS).


Dennis Tito

Tito made arrangements with Space Adventures, Ltd., to launch into space and stay aboard the ISS for a trip that lasted almost 8 days. Dennis Tito fought bouts of motion sickness on the initial adventure and upon his 128 orbits around the earth.

The hygienic bags in the Soyuz capsule were improperly packed so Tito needed to use napkins before entering ISS where he could avail himself of the high tech version of the standard barf bag.

Tito brought about 45 rolls of film for his space tourism adventure and is reported to have used approximately half the rolls before returning to Earth. Tito and others reported that the greeting from the Americans aboard the ISS were less than cordial and made for a somewhat tense stay while on the ISS.

Tito was quoted as saying that the most profound experience of his life was aboard the ISS, when he was able to speak from space to his kids over a ham radio link. Tito traveled as a cosmonaut and not an astronaut into space and was accompanied by two other cosmonauts, Soyuz commander Talgat Musabayev and flight engineer Yuri Baturin.

Upon his return from space, Tito received a hero's welcome in Star City, Russia at the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center. Tito was welcomed by former prime ministers Sergey Stepashin and Eugueny Primakov. The Russians welcomed the amateur cosmonaut by calling him a "comrade".

Many Americans also cheered on Dennis Tito for following and successfully completing his childhood dream. Some Americans were also vocal in their criticism of NASA and even John Glenn who opposed the first paying space tourist and his flight.

Dennis Tito was born in Queens, New York and received a degree in Aeronautics from the University of New York. He also received an MS in engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an honorary doctorate from NASA's JPL.

Tito made his multimillion dollar in assets from founding Wilshire Associates investment management firm in Santa Monica, California. Wilshire Associates serves international clients with assets of over $12 trillion.


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