The day the first tourist went to space – level 3

28-04-2001

People were always fascinated by the night sky full of stars. American Dennis Tito was no different. As a boy, he began to dream that he would travel there one day. That was one of the reasons for his studies of engineering and his work for NASA. After only five years, however, he left his job in the laboratories and threw himself into the investment market.

He was so successful that he had $200 million in his account. He still kept his boyhood dream of a journey to the stars, and now he had money to realize it.

At the time, the Russian space agency was facing financial problems, and wealthy people seemed to be exactly the financial injection its budget needed. That’s why they made a deal with Tito. He paid twenty million dollars for a one-week space vacation.

He underwent medical examinations followed by training, during which he became familiar with the Soyuz spacecraft and he practiced for landing on Earth. He also improved his skills in Russian. His training lasted 8 months.

On April 28, 2001, Soyuz took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with two astronauts and the first space tourist to the ISS. Tito didn’t like the name “space tourist”. He preferred the name “independent researcher” because he also performed some scientific experiments in space.

Tito stayed in space for 7 days, during which he orbited the Earth 128 times. He then safely landed in Kazakhstan.

Difficult words: face (to stand in front of a difficult situation), wealthy (very rich), undergo (to do), ISS (the International Space Station), perform (to do).

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