Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars. Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have both been to space and are developing their own aerospace companies. It seems space is no longer a technological battlefield where nations prove their technical might and superiority but rather a playground for wealthy individuals to explore and conquer. With the final frontier moving closer, space tourism is developing, with there already waiting lists for life on Mars. In this article, we present the first-ever space tourist and his story.
Meet Dennis Tito
The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, and he did it way back in 2001. He paid $20 million for a chance to fly to the International Space Station with the Russian space crew. He was on board for eight days. Interestingly he was 60 when he did the flight proving that age is but a small barrier.
His life story is also exciting and explains his interest in space flight. His BS degree is in Astronautics and Aeronautics, and his MS degree is in Engineering Science. While he did work for NASA for some time, he made his money in finances. In 1972, he founded the Wilshire Associates, which provides consulting, investment management, and technology services in California.
This event was exciting because we often think of shy nerds who studied astronautics as good business people or who make a fortune in finances. But, instead, we imagine them as mathematical geniuses that find ways to beat the house in online slots Canada real money and make their fortune using their mathematical expertise and knowledge of chance playing cards. But, of course, in real life, that would be cheating and getting you banned, while it’s fair game if you find a way to beat the online casino or slot algorithm.
Dennis used his mathematical skills differently. His companies rely on quantitative analytics, meaning they use mathematical tools to analyze market risks. Tito developed that method using his experience working on spacecraft’s paths in NASA. So one can say he utilized talents as an engineer and knowledge of aeronautics to the maximum, even in the business world. He always dreamt of going to space, but civilians weren’t allowed. Until…
An Opportunity Comes
NASA, especially then, didn’t support the idea of allowing civilians to go to space. Finally, however, Tito dint gave up and instead started talking with the Soviet Union about joining a space mission. He would pay a ticket, and they would allow him to come even though he was only a civilian.
Since this was just before the Soviet Union collapsed, their program was facing enormous financial difficulties. To offset this, the Soviets had to get creative and agreed for Tito to join them in their space flight if he paid for it. And indeed, on April 28, 2001, a Russian Soyuz spaceship went from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to space. With Tito, there were 2 Russian cosmonauts. And like it was already said, he then spent the next week on the International Space Station.
To sum up Tito’s recollection of the event: “I just enjoyed looking at the window, videoing the Earth, the portholes, the station. It was just wonderful. It was eight days of euphoria.”