He Was a Space Tourist in 2001. He's Going Back

Dennis and Akito Tito to board SpaceX's second commercial flight around the moon
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2022 11:26 AM CDT
He Was a Space Tourist 20 Years Ago. He's Going Back
This photo provided by SpaceX photo shows Dennis Tito and his wife, Akiko, at the company’s Starship rocket base near Boca Chica, Texas, on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.   (SpaceX via AP)

Dennis Tito hopes to become a space tourist once again. The 82-year-old aerospace engineer-turned-financial analyst who paid $20 million to Russia for a trip to the International Space Station in 2001 says he and his 57-year-old wife Akito have signed up for a SpaceX flight around the moon. Though it's unclear when the flight might take place, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed the deal to fly the pair within 25 miles of the lunar surface on a weeklong flight aboard the Starship rocket, per Space.com and Reuters. Reuters notes the Titos, who married in 2020, are "the first crewmembers to be announced for Starship's second commercial spaceflight around the moon."

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has already agreed to charter Starship's first commercial flight around the moon, per CBS News. Both of those flights are expected to come after a flight to Earth orbit, possibly with billionaire Jared Isaacman on board. Tito tells CBS that he hopes to take off within five years, showing people that "as we get older, there are so many things we still can do … I mean, I'm beyond the age of skiing, but space is a lot easier than that." He wouldn't say how much he agreed to pay—he and Akito are to join 10 others on the flight—but he did say he's "been thinking about flying to the moon for the last 20 years, since my space flight." (More Dennis Tito stories.)

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