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Dennis Tito
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    (August 8, 1940- )
    Born in Queens, New York
    Founded the investment management company Wiltshire Associates (1972)
    Became the first space tourist, paying $20 million to join the Soyuz TM-32 mission to the International Space Station (April 28-May 6, 2001)
    NASA's refusal to let him train with his fellow Soyuz crewmembers at the Johnson Space Center triggered a minor international incident.
    He suffered motion sickness during launch.
    He was not allowed into the American segments of the space station without an escort.
    After his trip, NASA demanded compensation from Russia for lost research time.
    He hates being called a 'space tourist' and asks to be called an 'independent researcher' since he performed experiments in orbit.
    He worked for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), calculating flight paths for the Mariner missions to Venus and Mars.
    He reportedly used the mathematical models he developed at the JPL to analyze the market and amass a personal fortune of $200-300 million.
    He said of the $20 million price tag, 'We all know you can't take it with you.... Here is a chance to have a once in a lifetime experience... I think that is a fantastic deal.'
    He made a less embarrassing poster boy for space tourism than Lance Bass probably would have.

Credit: C. Fishel

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