Who was the first space tourist

Washington - On April 28, 2001, the American multimillionaire Dennis Tito started a trip to the International Space Station as the first space tourist. The then 60-year-old took off from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan with a Russian Soyuz rocket. Since 1991 Tito had been negotiating a trip to the Mir space station with the Russian space agency. However, after this was sunk, the ISS became the new target. The former NASA technician paid $ 20 million (22.5 million euros) to Russian space travel for the one-week trip.

Space fans rated the multimillionaire's flight as a start into commercial all-tourism. However, the trip sparked tension between the ISS partners Russia and the USA. The US space agency NASA argued that the station was still a construction site and that the construction should not be hindered by tourists. The Russians, on the other hand, pointed out that under the ISS agreement they could decide for themselves who would fly their missiles to the station. Tito is not a security risk.

When computers on board the ISS failed before Tito's flight began, NASA again appealed to Moscow to postpone the flight. Tito, who had previously relocated practically entirely to the Russian cosmonaut town of Star City for months of intensive astronaut training, nevertheless flew off as planned. NASA was able to fix the computer problems in a timely manner and the trip went smoothly. (dpa)