Space tourist Dennis Tito is heading into space again – and this time he wants to take his wife with him
In 2001 he was the first space tourist on board the International Space Station (ISS), now Dennis Tito wants to fly into space again. This time, however, the US entrepreneur does not want to visit the ISS, which orbits the earth at a height of around 400 kilometers – the billionaire wants to go even higher on his second trip into space: to the moon.
The former aerospace engineer claims to have booked tickets for the second SpaceX flight around the moon for himself and his wife Akiko. The flight is to be carried out with the “Starship”, which is still under development and which will also carry astronauts to the moon for NASA from 2025 at the earliest. However, the Tito couple will not land on the moon, the billionaire emphasizes in an interview with journalists: “I can say unequivocally that we will not land on the moon. It’s a completely different mission and above our pay grade.”
However, the space tourist would not be averse to a slight change of plan, as he points out: “Maybe they decide to let us fly around the moon a couple of times… but that’s wishful thinking,” Tito continues. The couple already signed the contract with SpaceX in 2021. Together with ten other people, the two are said to be traveling in space for about a week and approaching the moon’s surface to within 200 kilometers.
Dennis Tito is already 82 years old – with his flight around the moon he could break a record and become the oldest person to fly in earth orbit and to the moon. The current record holder for a flight to Earth orbit is former astronaut and later US Senator John Glenn, who took off on the Space Shuttle Discovery at the age of 77. “Star Trek” actor William Shatner was even 90 when he flew into space – however, the “New Shepard” rocket from Jeff Bezos’ space company “Blue Origin” does not go into earth orbit.
“I think the first thing that matters is that we’re going to be the first married couple to fly around the moon,” explains Tito. “Hopefully this will inspire other couples to do the same,” said the billionaire, whose wife would be one of the first women to fly around the moon.
Before the first space tourist Dennis Tito flies back into space, he still has to be patient: Although the “Starship” from SpaceX could still complete its maiden flight in 2022, founder Elon Musk recently announced. But there are already reservations for the first flights: The Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa already reserved a complete flight for himself and his project “#dearMoon” in 2018, the US billionaire Jared Isaacman (participant in the first private SpaceX space flight) has for his Project Polaris reserved the first Starship flight with people on board.