Dennis Tito

Credit: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Dennis Tito is an American engineer, businessman and entrepreneur who became in 2001 the first space tourist. He payed for his own trip into space and spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of the Soyuz TM-32/ISS EP-1 mission. During this mission he visited the International Space Station and performed several scientific experiments in orbit that he said were useful for his company and business. Dennis Tito holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautics and Aeronautics from New York University and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute satellite campus in Hartford, Connecticut. He worked as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he helped to plan and monitor the Mariner 4 and 9 missions to Mars. In 1972, Tito founded the Wilshire Associates, a leading provider of investment management, consulting and technology services in California. Dennis Tito paid a reported $20 million for his space adventure. After his historic flight, Tito returned to his position at Wilshire Associates of which he sold his interests in 2020. On 12 October 2022, SpaceX announced that Dennis and his wife Akiko Tito will be on the crew of the second commercial spaceflight of Starship around the Moon.

Astronaut info

Country: Israel USA
Born: August 8, 1940
Career/Title:
  • Entrepreneur (founder of Wilshire Associates)
Space missions:
  • Soyuz TM-32 (2001)
Spacewalks 0
Time in space 07d 22h 04m
Website: /

Space mission overview

Mission Date launch Rocket Launch base Orbit Spacecraft Title Patch Duration
Soyuz TM-32 24/04/2001 Soyuz-U Baikonur (Kazachstan) 193 x 247 km Soyuz-TM Spaceflight Participant Soyuz TM-32 07 days, 22 hours
In a project first arranged by MirCorp, Dennis Tito was accepted by the Russian Federal Space Agency as a candidate for a commercial spaceflight. He began training in 2000 at the Yury Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia, but the mission was canceled when Russia allowed the Russian Mir station to crash to Earth. Later, through an arrangement with space tourism company Space Adventures, Ltd., Tito joined the Soyuz TM-32 mission which launched on April 28, 2001. The Russian spacecraft docked automatically with the International Space Station two days later. Crewmembers of the Soyuz TM-32 mission were commander Talgat Musabayev and flight engineer Yuri Baturin. Tito and his fellow cosmonauts spent 7 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes in space and orbited 128 times around the Earth. During his time in space he performed several scientific experiments that would be useful for his company and business. Dennis Tito returned to Earth together with Yuri Baturin and Talgat Musabayev aboard the Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft which had already been docked to the space station since November 2000 functioning as a 'lifeboat' for the onboard crew.

Video: Soyuz TM-32 First space tourist

Photos

Soyuz TM-32

Images: Space Adventures

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.