Tito The Spaceman

A rich man's orbital lark gets NASA's reluctant nod

If the launch gods cooperate this Saturday, a rocket will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and loft a Soyuz capsule into space. A day or so later, the capsule will rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station (ISS)--thus earning a place in the annals of space history. For aboard that Soyuz craft, along with two Russian cosmonauts, will be a 60-year-old American millionaire named Dennis Tito. Amateurs have flown in space before--including three U.S. congressmen, a Russian politician, a Japanese TV reporter and a Saudi prince--but Tito will be the first paying tourist.

He also very nearly...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!