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The Morning Show

Dennis Tito's Space Dairy
By Dale Connelly
April 27, 2001

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"Let me assure you that NASA will continue to strive to control International Space Station program costs, for our success in doing so is critical to the future of the Unites States Human Space Flight program."
—NASA administrator Daniel Goldin
House Science Committee testimony, Thursday, April 5, 2001
"To be approved for the flight, Mr. Tito signed an agreement last week to pay for anything he might damage or break during the mission."
—New York Times,
Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Day one - Zero gravity, at last! But the crew could lighten up! At dinner, I was bobbing for a floating meatball when there was this smelly foot in the way. I swear he was trying to kick my meal into the next module. And then they start whining about "Mr. Millionaire's spaghetti sauce" possibly getting into "the sensitive equipment." Agreed to pay $30,000 for dry cleaning a space suit that looked fine!

Yeah, things are sensitive up here, but it has nothing to do with the equipment.

Day two - Billed $55,000 for a broken "sucker valve," whatever that is. Feels like I'm under constant surveillance. Had to ask permission to Velcro myself into a corner and watch a DVD while they did experiments. Only movie option: "Unbreakable!" Ha, ha, ha. All secure bunks taken at bedtime, the crew wagered on what expensive components I might float into while sleeping. Feel like a pinball, with cooties.

Day Three - In the middle of the night, a smoke detector went off, and everyone looked at me. Turned out it was a malfunction, but guess whose duffel bag had to be squirted with fire retardant, "just in case"! Another $150 G's down the drain to "recharge the equipment."

Day Four - Somebody clogged up the space toilet! And guess who got the blame? Now they're telling me it will cost 1.5 million for the government plumbers to fix, plus $80,000 for "interim catheters and baggies." It does not help tourism to humiliate your first guest!

Day Five - I did not knock over anybody's experiment! Besides, without gravity, nothing falls, so what's the big problem? As for the liquid, I was able to collect most of it out of mid air by sucking it up with a straw and spitting it back into the test tubes. They still docked me another $500,000 for setting back the schedule! Hey, my time is worth money too!

Day six - Spent all day trying not to touch anything at all. When it was time to leave, no one cared enough to float me to the hatch. Was it necessary to get hysterical just because I tugged on the wrong doorknob? And since when does it cost $250 G's to "restore the integrity of the seal," especially since the thing hardly budged!

Day Seven - So ends my vacation, 20 million plus! Hospitality was lacking, but the weightlessness was definitely worth it. Now it's back to standard gravity. Heavy arms. Heavier legs. Lighter wallet!