Space Tourism Turns Ten: Dennis Tito became the first space tourist a decade ago today

[Video Link]

As regular Boing Boing readers may recall, I was in Moscow recently to attend celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight, by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Six of the seven private citizens who've paid to travel to space with the Russian space program via Space Adventures were also in Moscow that week, and space journalist Miles O'Brien was there interviewing all of them for a documentary project. Today, video excerpts from those conversations went live, along with a post by Miles on the significance of this date, April 28, 2011: ten years ago today, financier Dennis Tito became the first "space tourist" in human history, kicking off an industry and a dream for the many others who will follow. Snip:

[Tito] says the hardest part about the training was the uncertainty because "throughout my training up until three hours before the flight, and that was only because I went up in the elevator to the spacecraft and had to sit up there for three hours, but up to that point, it was uncertain as to whether I was going to fly."

NASA's reluctance aside, in the end the deal was brokered. On April 28th 2001, he flew into the space history books.

"The only way I can describe the whole experience is euphoria, or let's say seven days just being in the state of euphoria and sleeping like a baby," he told me.

From the moment he landed - he has been an outspoken advocate for creating a vibrant space tourism industry. He famously proclaimed on the steppe in Kazakhstan
"NASA doesn't know it yet but this is the best thing that ever happened to NASA."

Read the full post:
Space Tourism Turns Ten

More video from this interview series at Miles' YouTube channel, including conversations with space tourists Richard Garriott, Anousheh Ansari, Greg Olsen, and Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson.

I snapped photos during the Moscow space tourism video shoots; my photoset is here and a slideshow here, embed is below.