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Learn about the Space Center in Kazakhstan, the Baikanor. Also learn about the first space tourist Dennis Tito.
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Learn About the First Space Tourist Dennis Tito
This is back in our Space Center in Kazakhstan. American millionaire, Dennis Tito and two Russian cosmonauts are shown here arriving at the Space Center. Tito dubbed the first space tourist and cosmonauts, Talgat Musbayev and Yuri Baturin blasted off to the International Space Station in April 2001.
The three men arrived at the Baikonur Space Center as final preparations got on the way a hit of the launch. Tito, 60, a wealthy space buff is believed to off paid Russia about $20 million for the trip.
NASA had expressed safety concerns about Tito’s flight saying the Californian was not adequately trained and might prove a distraction to the crew. But a deal was reached allowing Tito fly into the International Space Station. The deal would essentially mean neither Tito nor his family would sue NASA if anything went wrong. And it would also require he paid for anything he broke according to sources closed to the negotiations.
Tito had originally planned to travel to Russia’s MIA Space Station, but the government was forced to dump the first Russian Space Station due to lack of funds. Not wanting to loose the $20 million that Tito was paying, Russian Space officials offered him a spot one ten-day cargo run to the International Space Station.
Although the flight went very smoothly, reception at the ISS was a little cooler than usual, in part because NASA doesn’t support the idea of space tourism. In addition to Tito, Mark Shuttleworth from South Africa has also been up in space as a tourist.
The Soyuz TM Rocket used to transport the crew into space was rolled at the hanger in the early hours, two days before was the blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket was to take South African Shuttleworth, Russia’s Yuri Gidzenko and Italy’s Roberto Vittori to the International Space Station.
Mark Shuttleworth became the world’s second space tourist to blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome following Tito, who flew with the ISS in May 2001. The internet multi-millionaire had also reportedly paid close to US $20 million for a ticket into space. Shuttleworth was not just a tourist. He also carried out a scientific program.
And according to the Baikonur Space Center, if a man is willing to pay so much money, they will support the space program, why not take him. Shuttleworth spent eight days at the Space Station alongside Russia’s Yuri Gidzenko and Italy’s Roberto Vittori. Vittori who was selected for the flight to the ISS by the European Space Agency, became the first Italian to fly into space aboard a Russian rockets.
Baikonur Space Center, once the hub of Russian’s Space Endeavors has changed over the last few from a very secret military well establishment to an almost completely civilian run facility. The military cite that the operation is less than 10%. However, appearances aside, Baikonur is the busiest space port in the world. After the Colombia disaster, they provided the only support rockets for the International Space Station.