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A Soyuz U rocket lifts off April 28, 2001 on the first taxi mission to station Alpha with a three-man crew that includes space tourist Dennis Tito.
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A Soyuz rocket is erected at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 26, 2001 for a planned launch in two days to station Alpha, carrying the first taxi crew that includes Dennis Tito.
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The Soyuz spacecraft that delivered the Expedition One crew to the station is seen here docked to the Zarya module.Click to enlarge.
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Liftoff! Dennis Tito, First Space Tourist Safely in Orbit


Mission Endeavour:Extending Alpha's Reach



NASA Chief Remains Miffed Over Tito Launch: 'Space is Not About Egos'
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 06:30 pm ET
28 April 2001
ET


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.

"I think all the steps called out will make it as safe as we could make it," Goldin said.


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