Ticket to the moon for billionaire and wife

Billionaire Dennis Tito and wife Akiko standing in front of Mars sign.
Space tourists Akiko and Dennis Tito pose in front of an Occupy Mars sign. SpaceX released this image with the announcement that the couple has purchased seats aboard the 1st crewed flight of Starship around the moon and back. Image via SpaceX.

Billionaire and wife buy ticket to the moon

Billionaire Dennis Tito, 82, and his wife Akiko Tito, will be among the dozen commercial passengers on board when SpaceX’s Starship takes its inaugural crewed trip around the moon. Dennis Tito was the first private citizen to visit the International Space Station in 2001. Akiko Tito is an engineer, pilot and investor, who has had interest in spaceflight since childhood. If this moon-bound Starship flight beats NASA’s first crewed Artemis mission to the moon, Akiko Tito will be the 1st-ever woman to leave Earth orbit.

SpaceX made the announcement via its blog:

This will be Dennis’ second mission to space after becoming the first commercial astronaut to visit the International Space Station in 2001, and Akiko will be among the first women to fly around the moon on a Starship. The Titos joined the mission to contribute to SpaceX’s long-term goal to advance human spaceflight and help make life multiplanetary.

Billionaires in space!

Dennis Tito made history in 2001 when he became the world’s first space tourist. Tito purchased a ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket and a week-long stay on the International Space Station from the space agency Roscosmos. The trip reportedly cost Tito $20 million.

Tito made his money in the financial sector through the early use of computer algorithms to trade stocks. At one time, Tito worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, creating algorithms to guide spacecraft to Mars and Venus.

Tito retired from finance in 2020.

Humans going back to the moon

SpaceX said it is sending Starship to the moon to prove it can provide support for NASA’s Artemis mission. Artemis will establish a permanent station orbiting the moon, with a goal of an eventual human presence on the lunar surface. The Artemis 1 mission – an uncrewed test flight of NASA’s SLS rocket – is scheduled for liftoff on November 14, 2022.

When the Titos rocket to the moon, it will be the second trip there for Starship. The first will be an uncrewed mission to prove the vehicle’s ability to leave Earth. There are no dates yet for the moon missions.

Bottom line: Billionaire Dennis Tito and wife Akiko Tito will be among the first space tourists to visit the moon.

November 4, 2022

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