NASA Drops Objections to Space Flight of Tourist, Dennis Tito, After Financier Signs Contract Agreeing to Pay for Anything He Breaks in Space

Tito Says He Wants to Be a Goodwill Space Ambassador When He Returns to Earth



Apr 22, 2001, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, April 22 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- NASA and other
 partners in the International Space Station have dropped their objections to
 accommodate California financier Dennis Tito in his quest to become the first
 tourist in space.  Tito tells Newsweek in the April 30 issue that NASA changed
 its mind last Friday after he agreed to sign a contract accepting
 responsibility for anything he broke in space. If all goes according to plan,
 Tito, who is paying the Russians $20 million for the privilege of taking up
 the third extra seat aboard a Soyuz rocket, is expected to blast toward the
 Space Station next week on a scheduled eight-day mission.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010422/NEWSWEEK )
     "They came to me and asked me to sign a contract saying if I broke
 anything I'd have to pay for it," Tito tells Senior Editor David France.  The
 60-year-old Tito, who has undergone 900 hours of cosmonaut training in Russia
 and passed exams with flying colors is allowed seven kilograms of luggage: a
 Dictaphone, two zero-gravity pens, three cameras, nine CDs ("Viaggo Italiano,"
 by Andrea Bocelli; "One," by the Beatles).  "I spent most of last year of my
 life working on getting this accomplished," he says in the current issue (on
 newsstands Monday, April 23).
     The mogul, who founded Wilshire Associates, says that upon his return to
 Earth he would like to serve his friend President George W. Bush as a goodwill
 space ambassador getting children excited again about the wonders of space.
 He intends to promote the commercialization of space for manufacturing and
 tourism and may commit his fortune -- estimated at well over $200 million --
 to funding a museum or investing in the first generation of suborbital
 transportation vehicles.
     With its economy in collapse, Russia sees the value of the extra third
 seat as a business opportunity and hopes there are other tourist willing to
 pay a fortune for a glimpse of Earth through a porthole.
 
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SOURCE Newsweek
    NEW YORK, April 22 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- NASA and other
 partners in the International Space Station have dropped their objections to
 accommodate California financier Dennis Tito in his quest to become the first
 tourist in space.  Tito tells Newsweek in the April 30 issue that NASA changed
 its mind last Friday after he agreed to sign a contract accepting
 responsibility for anything he broke in space. If all goes according to plan,
 Tito, who is paying the Russians $20 million for the privilege of taking up
 the third extra seat aboard a Soyuz rocket, is expected to blast toward the
 Space Station next week on a scheduled eight-day mission.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010422/NEWSWEEK )
     "They came to me and asked me to sign a contract saying if I broke
 anything I'd have to pay for it," Tito tells Senior Editor David France.  The
 60-year-old Tito, who has undergone 900 hours of cosmonaut training in Russia
 and passed exams with flying colors is allowed seven kilograms of luggage: a
 Dictaphone, two zero-gravity pens, three cameras, nine CDs ("Viaggo Italiano,"
 by Andrea Bocelli; "One," by the Beatles).  "I spent most of last year of my
 life working on getting this accomplished," he says in the current issue (on
 newsstands Monday, April 23).
     The mogul, who founded Wilshire Associates, says that upon his return to
 Earth he would like to serve his friend President George W. Bush as a goodwill
 space ambassador getting children excited again about the wonders of space.
 He intends to promote the commercialization of space for manufacturing and
 tourism and may commit his fortune -- estimated at well over $200 million --
 to funding a museum or investing in the first generation of suborbital
 transportation vehicles.
     With its economy in collapse, Russia sees the value of the extra third
 seat as a business opportunity and hopes there are other tourist willing to
 pay a fortune for a glimpse of Earth through a porthole.
 
                         (Read Newsweek's news releases
             at http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X47250274
 
 SOURCE  Newsweek