In 2001, millionaire Dennis Tito paid Roscosmos $20 million to fly him to the International Space Station. He then became the first space “tourist” to visit a space station for the first time, despite not being a specially trained astronaut. Now Dennis Tito, a former financial analyst, and his wife Akiko Tito, an airline pilot, are also aiming to become some of the first tourists to fly around the moon aboard a SpaceX Starship.
SpaceX is already selling tickets for the second commercial Starship flight
Dennis and Akiko Tito have been confirmed by SpaceX as the first two crew members for the second commercial Starship flight. But the two will most likely have to wait another five years for their dream to come true, and there will be 10 more passengers on board. It has not yet been revealed how much the Tito couple paid for this ‘stay’, but it is certainly in the tens of millions.
The first mission of its kind has been announced for several years now. Billionaire Yusaku Mezawa will take eight people with him, preferably artists, to create special works inspired by the space travel experience. Still, Starship is not a fully developed space vehicle. SpaceX is still running tests, but the vehicle should be completed in the next few years.
Dennis and Akiko Tito are the first two crewmembers on Starship’s second commercial spaceflight around the Moon → https://t.co/z2Z9iVGw8x pic.twitter.com/07RHJlb6Dc
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 12, 2022
These missions will make just one pass around Earth’s natural satellite, coming within 200 kilometres of the Moon’s surface. After a full rotation, the shuttle will be put on a return trajectory to Earth.
Space tourism is still in its infancy. Blue Origin has made a few flights to the edge of space in its capsules, while for the first time, SpaceX operated a space mission composed of 100% civilians. The fact is that until we travel to more distant parts of the solar system and eventually colonise Mars, space exploration technology has some way to go. Fossil fuels, used for liftoff, are finite, and at some point we will have to find more efficient ways to launch objects from the planet if we are to be able to explore space in the long term.