Astronaut Dennis Tito

Dennis Tito - Citizen Spaceflight Astronaut

Post Series: Space Tourists

By the end of the 1990’s, the Mir space station was a decrepit hulk, and its operators, MirCorp, which was a privately owned company, was desperate to raise funds from space tourists in order to pay for the ailing stations’ upkeep.

However, before Dennis Tito, a former Jet Propulsion laboratory scientist-turned-businessman, could make the trip to Mir, the space station was allowed to fall back to earth, which prompted another privately owned space tourism company, Space Adventures, to arrange a trip for Tito to the International Space Station instead, despite spirited opposition from senior NASA administrators.

dennis tito's spaceflight by space adventuresAccording to reports made at the time, NASA refused to train Tito for the flight, but in spite of official opposition, Tito was able to spend seven days on the ISS in April of 2001, thus becoming the first space tourist to pay for his ride out of his own pocket.

Learn more about Dennis Tito's Spaceflight