On This Day in Space: April 28, 2001: World's 1st space tourist launches to space station

The 60-year-old businessman and multimillionaire Dennis Tito funded his own trip to space, and it cost him $20 million. He originally signed a deal with a private company called MirCorp to fly to Russia's aging Mir space station. Those plans fell through when Russia announced that Mir would deorbit in March of 2001.

On April 28, 2001, the world's first space tourist hitched a ride to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft

From the left: American businessman and spaceflight participant ("space tourist") Dennis Tito with Russian cosmonauts Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin aboard the International Space Station on April 30, 2001. (Image credit: NASA)

Tito didn't let that stop him from going to space. He then made a deal with another company called Space Adventures to go to the International Space Station instead. NASA wasn't too happy about having guests at the space station, but the Russians had no problem taking Tito's money and launching him in their Soyuz spacecraft along with two cosmonauts. 

They met up with the crew of Expedition 2 at the International Space Station and stayed there for about a week before safely returning to Earth.

Photos: The First Space Tourists

Q & A: World's First Space Tourists Reflect on Dawn of Private Spaceflight

Russia Says It Will Launch 2 Tourists Into Orbit for Space Adventures in 2021

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at FutureFlight.aero and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at Space.com. As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos. 

  • The Exoplanets Channel
    Very interesting
  • Arc Light
    Just so you know, the X-15 took off from Edwards AFB under the wing of a B-52 & was airdropped over Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada. The flight to the altitude record wasn't planned, but the rocket engine burned for two seconds longer than expected. The test flight was scheduled to peak at 280,000', but actually reached 314, 750' due to the extra rocket burn time.
  • Fourth Root
    Misleading wording. Bob White did not set the world altitude record on July 17th, 1962. Four Astronauts and two cosmonauts had flown higher prior to his flight. One could say it was the highest manned flight of a winged craft. But that's not the wording that was used.
  • DrRaviSharma
    On this date in 1969, I was part of NASA Apollo Team

    Contributed to Experiments in orbit and on Surface of Moon (ALSEP) etc.also trained astronauts

    Studied containation on and ouside Spacecraft.

    The Moon gave me employment to work for 5 Years on exciting Human Space flight Programs Skylab, Planning of Space Station and Space Shuttle

    See My picture taken with Buzz Aldrin in 2009
    I received Apollo Achievement Award from NASA dated July 20, 1969.

    Thanks Hanneke Weitering for today's Historic post

    Dr. Ravi Sharma
  • Mergatroid
    "Allegedly, the moon turns green because of its close proximity to Uranus"

    I'm sorry about that. I hear they have been investigating x-rays from the same source. I had no idea. I'll get a doctor to check into it.

    Sorry everyone.