American engineer and entrepreneur, most widely known as the first space tourist to fund his own trip into space. In mid-2001, he spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of ISS EP-1, a visiting mission to the International Space Station.
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. 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.”
Later, through an arrangement with space tourism company Space Adventures, Ltd., Tito joined the Soyuz TM-32 mission on April 28, 2001. 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. Tito performed several scientific experiments in orbit that he said would be useful for his company and business. Tito paid a reported $20 million for his trip.
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. Ten years after his flight, he gave an interview to BBC News about it.