Dennis Tito


Dennis Tito
Dennis Tito (cropped).jpg
Born (1940-08-08) August 8, 1940 (age 81)
Queens, New York City, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
Alma materNew York University (B.S.)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (M.S.)
Space career
Space Tourist
Time in space
7d 22h 04m[1]
MissionsISS EP-1 (Soyuz TM-32 / Soyuz TM-31)
Mission insignia
Soyuz TM-32 patch.png

Dennis Anthony Tito (born August 8, 1940) is an American engineer and entrepreneur. In mid-2001, he became the first space tourist to fund his own trip into space, when he spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of ISS EP-1, a visiting mission to the International Space Station. This mission was launched by the spacecraft Soyuz TM-32, and was landed by Soyuz TM-31.

Life and career

Tito was born in Queens, New York. He graduated from Forest Hills High School in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautics and Aeronautics from New York University, 1962 and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute satellite campus in Hartford, Connecticut.[2] He is a member of Psi Upsilon and received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on May 18, 2002 and is a former scientist of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[citation needed]

In 1972, he founded the Wilshire Associates, a leading provider of investment management, consulting and technology services in Santa Monica, California. Tito serves an international clientele representing assets of $71 billion.[3] Wilshire relies on the field of quantitative analytics, which uses mathematical tools to analyze market risks – a methodology Tito is credited with helping to develop by applying the same techniques he used to determine a spacecraft's path at JPL.[4] Despite a career change from aerospace engineering to investment management, Tito remained interested in space.[citation needed]

Tito was appointed to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners in the 1990s and led the board to support the landmark 1994 state ruling protecting Mono Lake from excessive water diversions by the city.[5]


Crew of Soyuz TM-32. (L-R: Tito, Talgat Musabayev, and Yuri Baturin)

In a project first arranged by MirCorp, Tito was accepted by the Russian Federal Space Agency as a candidate for a commercial spaceflight. Tito met criticism from NASA before the launch, primarily from Daniel Goldin, at that time the Administrator of NASA, who considered it inappropriate for a tourist to take a ride into space.[6][7] MirCorp, Goldin and Tito are profiled in the documentary film Orphans of Apollo. When Tito arrived at the Johnson Space Center for additional training on the American portion of the ISS, Robert D. Cabana, NASA manager, sent Tito and his two fellow cosmonauts home, stating, "...We will not be able to begin training, because we are not willing to train with Dennis Tito."[8]

Later, through an arrangement with space tourism company Space Adventures, Ltd.,[9] Tito joined the Soyuz TM-32 mission which launched on April 28, 2001.[10] The spacecraft docked with the International Space Station. Tito and his fellow cosmonauts spent 7 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes in space and orbited the Earth 128 times.[9] Tito performed several scientific experiments in orbit that he said would be useful for his company and business.[citation needed] Tito paid a reported $20 million for his trip.[11]

Since returning from space, he has testified at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space and the House Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics Joint Hearing on "Commercial Human Spaceflight" on July 24, 2003.[12] Ten years after his flight, he gave an interview to BBC News about it.[13]

Inspiration Mars Foundation

In February 2013, Tito announced his intention to send a privately financed spaceflight to Mars by 2018,[14] stating that the technology is already in place and that the issues that need to be overcome are only the requirements of the rigor of a 501-day trip on a psychological and physical level for the human crew.[15][16][17] However, in November 2013, Tito and other Mars Inspiration team members admitted that their plan was impossible without significant levels of assistance and funding from NASA.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Astronaut Biography: Dennis Tito". April 19, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "Dennis Tito to Speak at Rensselaer Nov. 14". Rensselaer Magazine. November 4, 2002. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  3. ^ "Wilshire / About Us". Wilshire. November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  4. ^ "Dennis A. Tito to Receive Prestigious Americanism Award from Boy Scouts of America". Western Los Angeles County Council. January 11, 2002. Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  5. ^ "Defender of the Trust Award". Mono Lake Committee. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Brian Berger and Simon Saradzhyan (March 15, 2001). "Goldin, Koptev at Odds on Tito Flight". Archived from the original on May 24, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  7. ^ Leonard David (April 28, 2001). "NASA Chief Remains Miffed Over Tito Launch: 'Space is Not About Egos'". Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  8. ^ Julie Mayeda (January 18, 2004). "The forgotten frontier". SFGate. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "First Space Tourist Dennis Tito to Make Business Visit to Russia". redOrbit. June 15, 2004. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  10. ^ Garcia, Mark (August 7, 2017). "Soyuz 2 Taxi Flight". NASA. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  11. ^ "Profile: Tito the spaceman". BBC News. April 28, 2001. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Congressional Testimony "Commercial Human Spaceflight" by Dennis Tito, Wilshire Associates". SpaceRef. July 24, 2003. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  13. ^ "World's first space tourist 10 years on: Dennis Tito". BBC News. April 30, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  14. ^ Eric Mack (February 20, 2013). "First space tourist plans to make trip to Mars in 2018". CNET. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  15. ^ Rand Simberg (February 24, 2013). "A Manned Mission to Mars This Decade?". PJ Media. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  16. ^ Marc Kaufman (February 27, 2013). "Manned Mars Mission Announced by Dennis Tito Group". National Geographic News. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  17. ^ Frank Morring, Jr. (March 4, 2013). "Serious Intent About 2018 Human Mars Mission". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  18. ^ Grossman, Lisa (November 21, 2013). "Ambitious Mars joy-ride cannot succeed without NASA". New Scientist. Retrieved January 26, 2014.

Further reading

  • Klerkx, Greg. Lost in Space, The Fall of NASA. Random House: New York. 2004. ISBN 0-375-42150-5

External links

  • Tito the spaceman BBC web site (accessed February 2006)
  • Spacefacts biography of Dennis Tito