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
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
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
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.