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SpaceX Books Space Tourism Pioneer Dennis Tito, 82, on Trip to Moon

The American businessman will be on SpaceX's second trip to the moon, the company says.

SpaceX's Starship rocket at a launch gantry, with the sun low on the horizon behind it.
SpaceX's Starship rocket at a launch gantry.

SpaceX said Wednesday that 82-year-old American businessman and the world's first space tourist Dennis Tito and his wife, Akiko, will be on the company's second commercial spaceflight around the moon on its Starship rocket.

Tito, a wealthy engineer, was 60 years old in 2001 when he made history by becoming the first private citizen to go to space, aboard the Russian rocket Soyuz TM-32. Tito would spend eight days on the International Space Station -- a destination that only professional astronauts and military- or government-sponsored personnel had been able to go to before.

The Titos are the first crew members to be announced for Starship's second commercial spaceflight around the moon, SpaceX said in a tweet Wednesday.

"The Titos joined the mission to contribute to SpaceX's long-term goal to advance human spaceflight and help make life multiplanetary," SpaceX said a statement.

During its weeklong journey, the Starship will fly within 124 miles (200 km) of the lunar surface. SpaceX hasn't announced a launch date for the trip, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in September that he's aiming to get the next-generation space vehicle to orbit for the first time in late October or November.

The first commercial flight around the moon is expected to occur in 2023, when Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a crew of eight artists and entertainers are set to blast off inside Starship.