Dennis Tito

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dennis Tito
Born (1940-08-08) August 8, 1940 (age 83)
Queens, New York City, U.S.
Alma materNew York University (B.S.)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (M.S.)
Space career
Space tourist
Time in space
7d 22h 04m[1]
MissionsISS EP-1 (Soyuz TM-32 / Soyuz TM-31)
Mission insignia

Dennis Anthony Tito (born August 8, 1940) is an American engineer and entrepreneur. In mid-2001, he became the first space tourist to fund his own trip into space, when he spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of ISS EP-1, a visiting mission to the International Space Station. This mission was launched by the spacecraft Soyuz TM-32, and was landed by Soyuz TM-31.

Life and career[edit]

Tito was born in Queens, New York. He graduated from Forest Hills High School in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautics and Aeronautics from New York University, 1962 and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute satellite campus in Hartford, Connecticut.[2] He is a member of Psi Upsilon and received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on May 18, 2002 and is a former scientist of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[3]

Tito was appointed to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners in the 1990s and led the board to support the landmark 1994 state ruling protecting Mono Lake from excessive water diversions by the city.[4]

Investment career[edit]

In 1972, he founded the Wilshire Associates, a leading provider of investment management, consulting and technology services in Santa Monica, California. Tito serves an international clientele representing assets of $71 billion.[5] Wilshire relies on the field of quantitative analytics, which uses mathematical tools to analyze market risks – a methodology Tito is credited with helping to develop by applying the same techniques he used to determine a spacecraft's path at JPL.[3] Despite a career change from aerospace engineering to investment management, Tito remained interested in space.[6]

In 2020, Tito sold his interest in Wilshire Associates.[7]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2001 Dennis was divorced from his first wife Suzanne Tito, to whom he had been married since the 70s.[8][7] They had 3 children together.[9] She had been CFO of Wilshire Associates at the time they moved into their mansion in Pacific Palisades in 1990 with their 3 children, that they had been building since 1987.[10]

As of 2011 Dennis was married to Elizabeth Pavlova Tito, a Russian investor and Stanford alumna. They lived at Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles.[8]

From 2016 to 2019, Dennis was married to Elizabeth TenHouten.[11][9]

Since 2020, Dennis has been married to Akiko Tito, an engineer, pilot, investor, who has had interest in spaceflight since childhood.[12][13] She was born in Tokyo, has an economics degree and moved to New York in 1995, raising a child prior to her marriage to Dennis.[9]

21st century space interests[edit]


Crew of Soyuz TM-32. (L-R: Tito, Talgat Musabayev, and Yuri Baturin)

In a project first arranged by MirCorp,[when?] Tito was accepted by the Russian Federal Space Agency as a candidate for a commercial spaceflight. Tito faced criticism from NASA before the launch, primarily from Daniel Goldin, at that time the Administrator of NASA, who considered it inappropriate for a tourist to take a ride into space.[6][14] MirCorp, Goldin and Tito are profiled in the documentary film Orphans of Apollo.[needs update] When Tito arrived at the Johnson Space Center for additional training on the American portion of the ISS, Robert D. Cabana, NASA manager, sent Tito and his two fellow cosmonauts home, stating, "...We will not be able to begin training, because we are not willing to train with Dennis Tito."[15]

Later,[when?] through an arrangement with space tourism company Space Adventures, Ltd.,[16] Tito joined the Soyuz TM-32 mission which launched on April 28, 2001.[17] The spacecraft docked with the International Space Station. Tito and his fellow cosmonauts spent 7 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes in space and orbited the Earth 128 times.[16] Tito performed several scientific experiments in orbit that he said would be useful for his company and business.[citation needed] Tito paid a reported $20 million for his trip.[18]

Since returning from space, he has testified at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space and the House Committee on Science, Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics Joint Hearing on "Commercial Human Spaceflight" on July 24, 2003.[19] Ten years after his flight, he gave an interview to BBC News about it.[20]

Inspiration Mars Foundation[edit]

In February 2013, Tito announced his intention to send a privately financed spaceflight to Mars by 2018,[21] stating that the technology is already in place and that the issues that need to be overcome are only the requirements of the rigor of a 501-day trip on a psychological and physical level for the human crew.[22][23] However, in November 2013, Tito and other Mars Inspiration team members admitted that their plan was impossible without significant levels of assistance and funding from NASA.[24]

SpaceX Starship’s second commercial spaceflight around the Moon[edit]

On 12 October 2022, SpaceX announced that Dennis and Akiko Tito will be on the crew of the second commercial spaceflight of Starship around the Moon.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Astronaut Biography: Dennis Tito". April 19, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "Dennis Tito to Speak at Rensselaer Nov. 14". Rensselaer Magazine. November 4, 2002. Archived from the original on October 29, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Dennis A. Tito to Receive Prestigious Americanism Award from Boy Scouts of America". Western Los Angeles County Council. January 11, 2002. Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  4. ^ "Defender of the Trust Award". Mono Lake Committee. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  5. ^ "Wilshire / About Us". Wilshire. November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Brian Berger and Simon Saradzhyan (March 15, 2001). "Goldin, Koptev at Odds on Tito Flight". Archived from the original on May 24, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "FINALLY: Dennis Tito Sells Wilshire Associates to Private Equity Firms". SWFI. October 2, 2020. 81782.
  8. ^ a b Kevin Courtney (July 9, 2011). "Then & now Dennis Tito, space tourist". The Irish Times. 1.596407.
  9. ^ a b c Casey Campbell (October 13, 2022). "Who Is Dennis Tito's Wife Akiko? The Couple Is Ready For A Space Tour!". Fitz on ETV.
  10. ^ Ron Russell (February 11, 1990). "Some Mixed Reviews for Hilltop Mansion : Homes: Dennis Tito wanted a room with a view. His neighbors, however, say his giant home is spoiling theirs". The Los Angelese Times.
  11. ^ Daniel Goldblatt (August 19, 2019). "Dennis Tito, World's First Space Tourist, Files for Divorce".
  12. ^ Jeff Foust (October 12, 2022). "Dennis Tito and wife to be on second Starship flight around the moon". SpaceNews.
  13. ^ Jeffrey Kluger (October 17, 2022). "The World's First Space Tourist Plans a Return Trip—This Time to the Moon". Time Magazine. 6222212.
  14. ^ Leonard David (April 28, 2001). "NASA Chief Remains Miffed Over Tito Launch: 'Space is Not About Egos'". Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  15. ^ Julie Mayeda (January 18, 2004). "The forgotten frontier". SFGate. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "First Space Tourist Dennis Tito to Make Business Visit to Russia". redOrbit. June 15, 2004. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  17. ^ Garcia, Mark (August 7, 2017). "Soyuz 2 Taxi Flight". NASA. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  18. ^ "Profile: Tito the spaceman". BBC News. April 28, 2001. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  19. ^ "Congressional Testimony "Commercial Human Spaceflight" by Dennis Tito, Wilshire Associates". SpaceRef. July 24, 2003. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  20. ^ "World's first space tourist 10 years on: Dennis Tito". BBC News. April 30, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  21. ^ Eric Mack (February 20, 2013). "First space tourist plans to make trip to Mars in 2018". CNET. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  22. ^ Marc Kaufman (February 27, 2013). "Manned Mars Mission Announced by Dennis Tito Group". National Geographic News. Archived from the original on February 28, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  23. ^ Frank Morring Jr. (March 4, 2013). "Serious Intent About 2018 Human Mars Mission". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  24. ^ Grossman, Lisa (November 21, 2013). "Ambitious Mars joy-ride cannot succeed without NASA". New Scientist. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  25. ^ "First Crewmembers of Starship's Second Commercial Spaceflight Around the Moon". SpaceX. October 12, 2022. Retrieved October 12, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Klerkx, Greg. Lost in Space, The Fall of NASA. Random House: New York. 2004. ISBN 0-375-42150-5

External links[edit]