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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

How to become a space tourist: 8 companies (almost) ready to launch

• By Stefanie Waldek

On April 28, 2001, 60-year-old American businessman Dennis Tito became the first tourist to leave Earth's atmosphere behind, spending nearly 8 days in space, much of it aboard the International Space Station (ISS)—and reportedly paying $20 million dollars to do so. Despite objections from NASA, who thought that Tito's training would not be sufficient by the time of his flight—Tito also thinks it's likely they were concerned about his age—tourism company Space Adventures negotiated a deal with the Russian agency Roscosmos that got Tito a seat in a Soyuz.

Since then, there have been only six other space tourists, all traveling aboard a Soyuz to the ISS. The last one, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté, flew in 2009. The end of this early space tourism era came about due to the doubling of the crew size aboard the ISS in 2009, which left no room for visitors on the station, as well as the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, which meant that NASA needed all extra Soyuz seats to launch its astronauts.