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World’s First Space Tourist Signs For Second Flight With Musk’s Starship

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The world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito, wants a second trip around the moon but this time on Elon Musk’s Starship. The 82-year-old wished to relive the thrill of his trip to the International Space Station. He does not want a 10-minute flight to the edge of space or repeat what he did 21 years ago, to which he said, “Been there, done that”.

The weeklong moonshot, with his wife, Akiko, and 10 others, will take them 125 miles (200 kilometers) into the far lunar side. Tito has not said how much he’s paying; however, his Russian flight cost $20 Million. The couple realized the amount of testing and progress to be made for Starship, a shiny bullet-shaped behemoth to reach space.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Tito said, “We have to keep healthy for as many years as it’s going to take for SpaceX to complete this vehicle. I might be sitting in a rocking chair, not doing any good exercise if it wasn’t for this mission.”

Tito is the second billionaire to book a seat in Starship followed by Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa who agreed to buy an entire flight to space for him and eight other artists in 2018. Both men flew into space, from Kazakhstan in Russian rockets.

Tito's first stint with space
Tito went to space in 2001, making him the first person to fund his trip to space

Tito went to space in 2001, making him the first person to fund his trip to space, alienating NASA in the process. The U.S Space Agency didn’t want him speculating while building the station. But the Russian Space Agency needed the cash. With the US-based Space Adventures, it launched its wealthiest clients into space in the 2000s and a year ago Maezawa.

Starship has not yet launched its Super Heavy booster from southern Texas. It is the largest and most powerful rocket to blast off at 394 feet (120 meters) and 17 million pounds (7.7 million kilograms). NASA has signed a contract with Starship for its astronauts to land on the moon in 2025, in the first such attempt since Apollo.

The couple signed the contract with SpaceX in August 2021. On Wednesday, he announced that a flight will be available five years from now. Tito will be 87 by then. He said, “But if I stayed in good health, I’d wait 10 years”.

Tito’s wife said she did not require any persuasion. Both the pilots from Las Vegas are fully aware of the risks. The couple together flying to the moon believe it will inspire others to do the same.

Tito sold his investment company, Wilshire Associates, two years ago, and claims not to feel guilty about spending his money on his spacecraft rather than on Earth. He said, “We’re retired and now it’s time to reap the rewards of all the hard work”.

Tito believes he will break notions of the age, just like John Glenn’s space shuttle did in 1998. He became the first American to orbit the Earth and the oldest person to do so. “He was only 77. He was just a young man. I might end up being 10 years older than him”, Tito said.

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