Entrepreneur Dennis Tito was the first Earthling to pay for a space trip in 2001. More than twenty years later, he wants to do it again. The American said on Wednesday October 12, 2022 that he intended to participate with his wife in a future mission around the Moon organized by the American company SpaceX. Tito told reporters that what drove him to renew the experience was his passion for “space and the possibilities it offers to humanity”.
A mission to the Moon… without landing there
The one-week mission to which Dennis Tito and Akiko, his wife, should participate, plans a flight 200 km from the surface of the Moon before returning to Earth. It will take place when Elon Musk has completed the prototype of his Starship spacecraft and carried out an already planned first commercial flight with a Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa. Of the 12 seats available, the Tito couple booked two, unlike Yusaku Maezawa who booked the entire flight organized by SpaceX.
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
SpaceX’s Starship will be the lander that will bring astronauts back to the Moon
Dennis Tito, 82, did not specify the amount paid to make the trip with Akiko but, in 2001, he had paid 20 million dollars to fly aboard a Russian rocket to the International Space Station (ISS ), ushering in the era of space tourism. SpaceX has yet to announce when it will begin commercial space missions aboard Starship.
The Starship rocket is the one that Elon Musk intends to use to one day allow humans to settle on Mars. NASA, for its part, has chosen to bet on Starship to become the lander used as part of its Artemis program to return to the Moon. The Artemis 3 mission, which will therefore involve the version of the Starship called Starship HLS (for “human landing system”) should take place in 2025 or 2026.