Space tourism pioneer Dennis Tito booked a voyage around the Moon on SpaceX's Starship. "Dennis Tito was world's first commercial astronaut to visit the International Space Station [ISS]. He will now be among the first to fly on Starship," the company announced on October 12. He will embark on an adventure of a lifetime with his wife Akiko Tito. They are set to launch on Starship’s second commercial spaceflight around the Moon.
Dennis is one of the first civilians to ever self-fund a space tour. He became the first civilian astronaut to visit the Space Station in 2001. He spent nearly 8 days at the Space Station as a crew member of ISS Expedition 1 (EP-1). The mission was launched by the Russian Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft, and was landed on Earth by Soyuz TM-31 craft. Now at 82 years old, Tito could become the oldest person to launch to outer space and his partner Akiko will make history as one of the first women to fly around the Moon on a Starship vehicle. "The Titos joined the mission to contribute to SpaceX’s long-term goal to advance human spaceflight and help make life multiplanetary," said SpaceX. "Over the course of a week, Starship and the crew will travel to the Moon, fly within 200 km [kilometers] of the Moon’s surface, and complete a full journey around the Moon before safely returning to Earth."
The Starship spacecraft can carry up to 100 passengers, however, for the first Starship flights SpaceX will only transport a dozen. They are expected to be joined by 10 other passengers that have not been announced yet. SpaceX has not disclosed how much Mr. Tito paid for the space adventure around the Moon which does not have a specific launch date established. Starship is still under development; the company said the launch will happen after SpaceX launches the Polaris Program and dearMoon missions.
The dearMoon mission will also be a circumlunar voyage that will launch a dozen artists aboard Starship, funded by entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa who dreams of seeing the Moon. The Polaris Program will launch the first crew to test a Starship spacecraft during the debut crewed spaceflight. The program is funded by Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman, who orbited the Earth during the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission in September 2021. He purchased two more flights on Dragon spacecraft and one on Starship to help SpaceX advance human spaceflight technologies.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.