WASHINGTON -- Hours after the successful launch of space tourist Dennis Tito early Saturday, NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin appeared quick-tempered when asked for comment about the California tycoon's planned docking Monday to the International Space Station.
"I have no comment about Mr. Tito. The issue is about the safety of the astronauts and the equipment of the station. I have nothing to say about Mr. Tito," Goldin told SPACE.com as he attended an annual meeting of the American Physical Society here in the nation's capitol.
Asked if he had concerns that Tito's hop to the frontier outpost some 240 miles above Earth would be all smooth sailing, Goldin was blunt in his response.
"Space is dangerous. It's not a joyride. Space is not about egos. Space is a dangerous place and we make it as safe as possible. By slowing things down, we think we've taken good steps. The [station] partners have been very cooperative. The Russian's have been cooperative," Goldin said.
Alluding to risk-reduction actions the space station Alpha crew will take with Tito -- such as escorting the space traveler in certain station segments, plus giving him caution and warning tutorials -- Goldin said these procedures were necessary.