On This Day in Space! April 28, 2001: World’s 1st space tourist launches to space station, ,

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On April 28, 2001, the world’s first space tourist hitched a ride to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The 60-year-old businessman and multimillionaire Dennis Tito funded his own trip to space, and it cost him $20 million. He originally signed a deal with a private company called MirCorp to fly to Russia’s aging Mir space station. Those plans fell through when Russia announced that Mir would deorbit in March of 2001.

American businessman Dennis Tito, the world’s first orbital space tourist, is seen training for his historic 2001 flight to the International Space Station. Tito launched in April 2001 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft thanks to a $20 million deal brokered by the Virginia-based firm Space Adventures. (Image credit: Space Adventures)

Tito didn’t let that stop him from going to space. He then made a deal with another company called Space Adventures to go to the International Space Station instead. NASA wasn’t too happy about having guests at the space station, but the Russians had no problem taking Tito’s money and launching him in their Soyuz spacecraft along with two cosmonauts.

They met up with the crew of Expedition 2 at the International Space Station and stayed there for about a week before safely returning to Earth.

Catch up on our entire “On This Day In Space” series on YouTube with this playlist.

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Still not enough space? Don’t forget to check out our Space Image of the Day, and on the weekends our Best Space Photos and Top Space News Stories of the week.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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