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American multimillionaire who became the world's first space tourist at the age of 60. Having paid $ 20 million for an eight-day flight, he considers it pure entertainment.

Much of what the famous Jules Verne told about more than 130 years ago in the novel "Flight to the Moon" has come true today. The first manned launch in the 21st century from the Baikonur cosmodrome opened the era of passenger transportation to and from space. It is probably no coincidence that the first crew of space cabs was headed by Talgat Musabayev, a former civil aviation pilot. And the American citizen Dennis Tito became a passenger on his ship, although he was not officially the first civilian passenger to be in space. Back in 1985, a prince from Saudi Arabia flew into space on an American spaceship, and then Senator De Garne ascended into low-Earth orbit. The following year, Rep. Ben Nelson flew around the Earth. In 1990, Japanese journalist T. Akiyama visited the Soviet orbital station Mir, and in 1991, a pastry chef from Great Britain, H. Sharman. But Dennis Tito was the first to say that the purpose of his flight is extremely private: to realize his old childhood dream of being in space. He is considered the first space tourist on Earth, because he paid for his voyage on his own. Dennis Tito himself calls himself the first space traveler. So the events described in the novel by Jules Verne can no longer be called fantasy.

Dennis Tito was born on August 8, 1940 in New York to a poor family of Italian immigrants. The surname Tito comes from the name of the town in the south of Italy, where his parents are from. In search of a better life, the Tito family moved to the United States and settled in the New York area of ​​Queens. The boy's father worked in a printing house, and his mother was a seamstress. While still at school, Dennis "got sick" with space. It happened on the day when he learned about the launch of the first space satellite of the Earth: “I was then a teenager and watched the development of the Soviet-American rivalry in space. I always wanted to fly into space - this kind of life experience was just for me. " Dennis Tito never forgot that his parents moved to the United States in order to achieve prosperity in life. Their son learned a good lesson from this. He realized that if you set a goal in life and work hard to achieve it, you can achieve everything you want.

When Dennis grew up a little, he moved from New York to California and started making his dream come true. In 1962, Tito entered the College of Engineering at New York University. And the next year he was already working as an aerospace engineer for NASA. Dennis Tito was involved in calculating the flight paths of interplanetary stations of the "Mariner" type, and also took an active part in the implementation of flights of unmanned stations to Mars and Venus. In 1964, the young scientist graduated from the university with a master's degree in engineering technology. In 1970, he continued his studies at Andersen University at the University of California, Los Angeles. Two years later, Dennis Tito founded his firm "Wilshere Associates Inc" (California), which he still runs.

Today the first space tourist lives permanently in Los Angeles. In Tito's house (area 30,000 m 2), there is a room that houses a collection of models of airplanes with gas engines, where all the exhibits are made by his own hands. In addition, he enjoys driving sports cars, enjoys sailing, and in his free time he enjoys listening to opera. Previously, Dennis Tito lived in this house with his family - his wife and three children, and now he is alone.

Thanks to his good education, Tito developed the Wilshere 5000 Total Market Index, which is now the most used index in the securities market. Today Tito's company has become one of the leading providers of services in the field of management, consulting and investment technology. The head of the company tells about himself: “I lead decision-making in such areas as financing, consulting and technology. But despite the change of professions, my interest in space flights never faded, as did my dedication to the development of national astronautics. Besides, I have never lost hope that one day I myself will be able to fly into space. "

NASA has always been keen to keep "civilians" out of their spaceships. Therefore, formally, in his homeland, Tito was deprived of the opportunity to fulfill his dream. But unexpectedly, Russia, the eternal rival of the United States in space, decided to render assistance to him. Tito had already agreed to fly to the Mir station. However, due to the end of the life of the Soviet station, the project was closed. But officials from the Russian space agency and Energia contacted Dennis Tito by phone with a proposal to visit the International Space Station on the Taxi mission. True, problems suddenly arose with the American side, which for a long time did not agree to Tito's flight into space. The head of the US National Aeronautics Agency, Daniel Goldwin, speaking at a hearing in Congress, said that four partner countries in the International Space Station objected to Tito's flight. A little later, astronaut John Glenn, the first American to fly around the Earth in 1962, and later a Senator, joined the critics of the idea of ​​the first space travel. In his opinion, the International Space Station would be used for other purposes: “It's like if my partners and I built a hospital or a laboratory, and then one of us would use this room for completely different purposes ... For example, playing baseball there ". Then the participants of the ISS project, representing the United States, the European Space Agency, Japan and Canada, formally notified Rosaviakosmos that they opposed the participation of Mr. Tito in the space expedition: “The presence on board the station of a non-professional crew member who had not been trained in handling its main systems, unable to act properly in possible emergency situations and in need of constant supervision, will significantly complicate the expedition and cause general damage to the safety of the station ”. This caution of the American side was explained by the tragic incident in the Pacific Ocean, when a US MF submarine inadvertently sank a Japanese training vessel. From the materials of the investigation, it became clear that the fatal mistakes of the crew of the submarine were provoked by the fact that there were civilians on board. In addition, one of NASA's attempts to send a layman into space also ended in tragedy. In 1986, the crew of the space shuttle Challenger, which included instructor Christa McAuliffe, was killed in an explosion.

More and more articles appeared in the American press negatively assessing Dennis Tito's attempt to go on space travel. “... A person who is ready to risk his life is out of his mind. And since one cannot take his proposal seriously, it would be better if he was silent and did not disturb the country with such wild nonsense, "- such statements were full of American newspapers.

But Tito's sons, 26-year-old Mike and 23-year-old Brad, had a completely different attitude to this idea. When they learned that my father was going to spend a vacation in space, they just shrugged their shoulders in bewilderment: "It is quite in his spirit." It is not known how Tito's daughter, who lives in New Zealand, took the idea of ​​her father. She categorically refused to give any interviews on this matter.

But, despite the categorical protest of NASA, Rosaviakosmos, at its own peril and risk, decided to fly Dennis Tito, giving him the opportunity to be in the Russian part of the orbital station "Alpha". In early 2001, Rosaviakosmos and Energia signed an official contract with Dennis Tito worth $ 20 million.

NASA has set a number of conditions for the first space tourist. Dennis Tito signed a document according to which any responsibility for possible incidents was removed from the National Space Agencies. He was asked to sign an agreement that the first space tourist undertakes to compensate for any damage caused to him, and also will not have any claims against NASA if his health suffers during the flight: the Americans believed that Tito was not sufficiently prepared for space flight. In addition, he could visit the American modules of the ISS only when accompanied by the ship's captain.

When the final formalities were settled, Dennis Tito's painstaking preparations for the flight began. In total, it lasted approximately 800 hours, including both training and practical work. The training system included such tasks as mastering rescue operations, getting used to take-off and landing conditions in zero gravity, housekeeping, personal hygiene on a spacecraft. After a while, Tito could boast that he knew how to put on a spacesuit in 25 seconds, and passed the required tests perfectly. Despite his venerable age, doctors stated that he was in excellent health. Interestingly, the entire crew of this flight became the oldest in the entire history of flights. Tolgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin, who accompanied the first tourist in space, were 50 and 51 years old, respectively.

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It became possible to fly into space on a tourist voucher. In order for the dream of flying into space to come true, you need to know English and Russian, be in good physical shape and VERY, very, very much money. Richard Gerriot had all this, on October 12, 2008 he flew into space, becoming the sixth space tourist in history ...

On October 12, Richard Gerriot took off as a space tourist. Richard Gerriott was trained for a flight in the Star City near Moscow, he managed to undergo many medical examinations and work out a lot of flight elements on simulators.

46-year-old Richard Gerriot paid about $ 30 million under an agreement between Roscosmos and the American company Space Adventures and went to the ISS. Richard Garriott is the head of Origin and the developer of computer games Tabula Rasa, Ultima Online and others.

Another notable detail in Gerriot's biography is that he is the son of the American astronaut Owen Gerriot, who previously flew on the American shuttle. Thus, in the event of a flight, Gerriot Jr. became the first astronaut in the history of the United States in the second generation.

“We are in constant contact with my father, we exchange about five emails a day,” says Gerriot. "My father believes that the mission that I have to fulfill in space is more difficult than the one he performed in his time."

According to the flight plan, Gerriot will spend 9 days in space and during this time he will conduct a number of scientific experiments, including an experiment on protein crystallization under microgravity conditions, as well as a series of photo and video observations of our planet.

“Richard Gerriot is a fan of the space theme. He collects Soviet stellar technology. He owns the first satellite of the Earth, as well as the Soviet lunar rover. He is the first person to own property on the moon (just this rover).

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