|Seattle News Bites!
May 6, 2001
In today's edition, we thought we would offer some commentary on the issue of space tourism.
As most of you know, the world's first space tourist, US millionaire Dennis Tito has just returned to Earth after spending a week in space aboard the International Space Station. NASA, the US space agency, had been very open and public about its objection to his trip, and as a result, Tito was not allowed into the US portion of the space station. Instead, he had spent the entire journey with the Russians.
We believe that NASA was wrong in its objections and, quite frankly, missed an excellent PR opportunity!
Fact is, Tito had trained extremely hard, had taken his trip seriously, and had passed all the required tests that real astronauts do, so why shouldn't he be allowed into space?.
Should money be the driving force in determining who should go? ABSOLUTE NOT! But if someone is intelligent enough, physically fit, serious about it, and willing to pay "big bucks," then why not? Besides,NASA could certainly use the money to help fund legitimate projects and experiements
The bottom-line is:
- Did Tito disrupt the mission? NO! He kept to himself and watched from a distance recording his historic journey in pictures and on video. And we're quite sure his recordings will eventually make it onto the networks.
- Did Tito break anything? NOTHING we know of, but even if he had, he would have paid for it himself! And besides, with highly trained cosmonauts there, we're quite sure they wouldn't have allowed him near anything sensitive or vital.
- Did he praise the work of the cosmonauts? YES!
- Did he give them the credit they deserve as professionals? YES!
- Did Tito enjoy himself up there? YOU BET!
- Were the "eyes of the world" watching? BOY WERE THEY!
- Did the cosmonauts seem to like and respect him? THEY DID!
- Were the cosmonauts "babysitting him?" NO, they just made sure he didn't disrupt their mission, but they didn't have to watch him every minute of every day.
- Did the Russian space program get some much needed funding? YOU BET THEY DID--$20 MILLION WORTH!
- Think Tito has sparked interest in the space program? WE DO! Why?1. Because he absolutely enjoyed himself 100%, and it showed on camera's around the world!
2. Because he gave the world its first glimpse, from a "average joe's" perspective, of what it's really like up there, and
3. Because he showed that it takes lots of training to make it up there. In fact, the media was even watching him as he trained, so the public got a glimpse of what kind of training is actually involved.
How did NASA blow this?
- Because Tito, an American, didn't train, travel, nor stay with his own. Instead, he trained, traveled, and stayed with the Russians.
- Because they wouldn't even let Tito into the American portion of the station,
- Because they missed a chance for the "eyes of the world" to focus on the American space program, and
- Because they missed a cash infusion of $20 million into their program. Money they could definitely use!