Tito has now become the first tourist in space after he blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He had a window seat.

"How do you feel, Dennis?" he was asked from the ground. "Khorosho," he answered, using the Russian word meaning "Good."

"It's a precedent," said the mission control chief, Vladimir Solovyov. "Let's hope that interest in space tourism will be shown. There are a lot of rich people. Why shouldn't they fly for their own pleasure?"

"If he will sign a contract, every citizen of the planet can ride‚ if his health permits him and he comes through with the money," said Yuri Grigoryev, deputy designer at the state-run Energia rocket company. "The station is open to commercialization."

Tito will spend six days aboard the space station with his video camera, CD player and nine disks (eight opera and one Beatles). While he was listed as a "systems operator," he will not be allowed to touch much and will need an escort when he visits the U.S. section of the station.