The world’s first space tourist has signed up for yet another adventure. This time he’s up for a spin around the Moon aboard Elon Musk’s Starship.
Dennis Tito, 82, who made a short trip to the International Space Station 21 years ago, isn’t interested in that kind of flight anymore. Tito’s weeklong moonshot will bring him closer to 200 kilometers of the lunar far side. Tito will not be alone. A total of 10 people, including his wife Akiko, are willing to spend big for the ride around the moon.
But, Tito realises that there’s a lot of testing and development still ahead for Starship ahead of its maiden attempt to reach space.
“I might be sitting in a rocking chair, not doing any good exercise, if it wasn’t for this mission,” Tito told The Associated Press.
TITO’s FIRST SPACE TRIP
Tito kicked off space tourism in 2001, becoming the first person to pay his own way to space and antagonising Nasa in the process. The US space agency did not want a sightseer hanging around while the station was being built.
But the Russian Space Agency needed the cash and, with the help of US-based Space Adventures, launched a string of wealthy clients to the station through the 2000s.
Tito said the couple’s contract with SpaceX, signed in August 2021 and announced on Wednesday, includes an option for a flight within five years from now. Tito would be 87 by then and he wanted an out in case his health falters.
John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth and he still holds the record as the oldest person in orbit. “He was only 77. He was just a young man. I might end up being 10 years older than him,” Tito said as he prepares to shatter the preconceived notions of age.