Dennis Tito is a millionaire from California
. He was born in 1941
and his parents were Italian immigrants
He was inspired by Sputnik
and decided to become an aerospace engineer
. He got a job at NASA
's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
, and for five years in the 1960s
, planned the routes of the unmanned Mariner probes
took to Venus
However, his job at NASA become boring for him and in 1972 he quit and started exploring finance and investment. He was incredibly successful, and become a millionaire by the time he was 40.
He later set up Wilshire Associates, a company that provides investment advice.
Dennis Tito left his footprint in history books when on April 28th, 2001, he became the first space tourist. He basically bought a ticket on a Russian Rocket (the Soyuz TM-32), spent 7 days, 22 hours, and 4 minutes in orbit, and docked aboard the International Space Station.
He purchased his ticket for 20 million dollars (United States). At the time, it was an eighth of the Russian's spending on the ISS.
He caused a bit of controversy because he was paying Russians for tickets to an internationally owned piece of scientific property.