As the first space tourist to pay his own way, Dennis Tito is in an interesting situation.

He is an American yet he is restricted to Russian modules on the Space Station Alpha. He once worked for NASA as an aerospace engineer but he isn’t allowed to touch anything. Tito paid an estimated $12 million to $20 million dollars for the right to be a tourist and NASA treats him like he has leprosy.

According to Cold War dogma, it should be the Americans–not the Russians–inviting the capitalist pigs beyond the Van Allen Radiation Belt.

There is no greater concentration of wealth than the United States. NASA should open the floodgates to people willing to pay the money to match their commitment.

Tito isn’t going to break anything. Tito isn’t going to kill anybody. Tito isn’t going to kill himself. He cannot sue NASA or Energia for anything and that’s the way it should be.

With a complete waiver of legal rights and a huge pile of money, anybody should be allowed to take a vacation to the Cosmos.

Space tourism will spawn incredible industries. Hotels, retirement communities and condominiums are among the most obvious possibilities. With each civilian in space for the purpose of kicking back with a 6-pack, safety will improve, innovations will make leaps and money will be made.

People will die but that’s the price of progress. Space is an infinitely expanding market.

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