Dennis Tito, The First Space Tourist, Leading The Effort
The first person to fly as a tourist in space has set his sights on a goal well beyond low Earth orbit.
Dennis Tito (pictured), who in 2001 became the first person to pay for the privilege of flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station, said in a news release that he has founded a new non-profit organization "The Inspiration Mars Foundation," and that he hopes to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2018.
The media advisory posted on the SpaceRef website announces a news conference to be held on February 27th at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Those attending along with Tito will be Moderator Miles Obrien; Taber MacCallum, chief executive officer and chief technology officer of Paragon Space Development Corporation and crew member for two-year mission in Biosphere 2; Dr. Jonathan Clark, associate professor of Neurology and Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and space medicine advisor for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute; and Jane Poynter, president and chairwoman of Paragon Space Development Corporation and crew member for two-year mission in Biosphere 2.
The media advisory says that the organization "plans to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity to launch an historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days, starting in January 2018. This "Mission for America" will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation."