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The first tourist in space

An American businessman who paid 20 million dollars - joiner to a Russian spaceship that took off from Kazakhstan

On Saturday, at 9:37 am (Israel time), another record was broken in the race
desecrate. From the Russian space base in Ikonur, Kazakhstan, the spacecraft took off
"Soyuz", carrying the first departing tourist in history

The American millionaire, Dennis Tito, 60, paid according to the publications 20
A million dollars to the Russian space agency to win a seat on the spacecraft
the Russian, alongside two Russian astronauts, Talgat Musassiev
and Yuri Baturin, on a routine mission to the International Space Station. He will stay
in the space of ten days.

The American space agency, NASA, strongly opposed Tito's launch,
A businessman from California and a former employee at NASA. The agency claimed that
Tito is not trained enough to fly into space, and he may cause damage and endanger you
His life and the International Space Station project. Under the pressure of the Russians the boat
NASA overruled its objection and allowed its lifting in a one-time manner, as it said.

The dream of his life^6
A television camera mounted on the spacecraft showed Tito, wearing clothes
Astronaut, smiling happily. When asked by the Russian inspector how he was
Feeling, he replied in Russian "Kharshu" (excellent). "This is not a vacation for me,
This is the fulfillment of my lifelong dream to fly into space," he told CNN before
the take off He added that he is especially bothered by the food. "the thing
The tastiest thing I'll eat there will be mashed potatoes," he laughed.

"He did it, he made it!" shouted Mike Tito, son of the space tourist,
At the sight of the giant rocket that took off in a cloud of smoke and fire into space. Tito passed though
Short training at the Russian space center, but just in case he carries it with him
Also a cameo: six woven pieces of cloth, braided, handmade by men
Hopi Indian tribe.

The amulet was given to him by his son Brad. "The members of the Hopi tribe believe that it is
With a powerful amulet," Brad explained, "with the help of this amulet they transfer the
The tradition from generation to generation, to the four corners of the earth, and now also to space."

Until the eve of the take-off there were still severe frictions between the Russians and the Americans
around the launch of the Russian spacecraft. The shuttle is still docked at the space station
The American "Endeavour", which was supposed to return to the US at the end of the week
and vacate the docking space at the space station for the Russian spacecraft, which carries the
Tito. Multiple computer glitches that occurred on the American shuttle delayed it
on the space station, but the Russians refused to comply with the Americans' request to postpone
in two days the launch of their spacecraft.

At the last moment, an arrangement was reached, according to which if by the time the Russian spacecraft arrives, tomorrow,
To the space station, the American shuttle will still dock there, the Russians will delay
the landing of their spacecraft until the Americans complete the repairs. since
The fall of the USSR, the budget of the Russian space agency was cut and it is stagnant
Now on about 120 million dollars a year. Tito's "flight ticket" covers if
Yes, about a sixth of the annual budget, including yesterday's launch expenses.

By Gabi Kessler, New York

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