On This Day In Space: The 1st Space Tourist Was Launched!
April 28, 2019
ON THIS DAY IN SPACE HISTORY: APRIL 28TH, 2001
How much would YOU pay to be the FIRST Space Tourist Launched into Space?
If your name is Denis Tito, the answer is twenty million US Dollars ($20,000,000) as on this day eighteen years ago, he became the first space tourist launched to the International Space Station at the age of 60. Not bad for someone nearly twice the age of the average astronaut: (US Astronauts range from 26 to 46 years old with 34 being the mean, Source here).
Try topping that "What did you do for Spring Break?" story...
PS- The $20 Million was 100 percent self-funded.
Mr. Tito is an American engineer and multi-millionaire (currently 78 years old) who spent a total of almost eight days in orbit (or $2.5 Million USD per Day). Born in Queens, New York, Mr. Tito graduated from New York University (NYU) with a bachelor's degree in Astronautics and Aeronautics before receiving his masters of science degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mr. Tito's professional career took a turn from NASA Jet Propulsion to the private sector when he founded Wilshire Associates in 1972: an investment management company. Ironically, the same quantitative analytics Tito helped sculpt during his time at NASA JPL to determine a space craft's flight path is also what aided Wilshire Associates to be astute at analyzing market risks (Source here).
What Is it Like The Moment You're Officially at ZERO GRAVITY In Space?"
According to Dennis Tito as interviewed by FORBES Magazine:
"When the third stage burns out, pencils hanging by strings in the cabin start to float. You too are weightless but don't feel it because you're so tightly strapped in. I don't recall looking out at Earth on the way up. I was concentrating on the instrument panel and on my sequence of events. Once we achieved orbit, though, I turned to my right and glanced out and could see the black, blackness of space and the curvature of the earth. It was a euphoric feeling, because I knew that at that moment I was in orbit. I said to myself, "I've done it. I'm in space."
According to Charles Simonyi as interviewed by Sky News:
""It is amazing how it appears from the blackness of the sky. It was very, very dramatic. It was like a big stage set, a fantastic production of some incredible opera or modern play. That's what I was referring to when I said I was blown away."
Just eight minutes, 50 seconds according to Dennis Tito.
The Russian Launched Soyuz TM-32 space craft was launched from Kazakhstan and had three stages- each of which Mr. Tito had a stop watch to time and track the course progress as it hit all of its splits exactly (Source here).
How Many Times Can One Orbit the Earth for $20 Million US Dollars?