Skip to main content /SPACE
CNN.com /SPACE
CNN TV
EDITIONS

Glenn: Tito flight a 'misuse' of space station

John Glenn
John Glenn  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former astronaut John Glenn called space tourist Dennis Tito's flight to the international space station a "misuse" of the multibillion-dollar facility.

"I don't blame him for wanting to go up," Glenn told CNN's "The Capital Gang" Saturday night. "And he's right, it's an incredible experience. But you know, the purpose of that whole spacecraft up there is basic research."

Tito, a former NASA scientist turned millionaire investor, returned to Earth on Sunday aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft after paying a reported $20 million to be a cosmonaut for a week. He came home to a growing row over whether tourists should be allowed to venture into space.

 IN-DEPTH
Tito First Space Tourist
  •  Profile: Dennis Tito
  •  Pre-flight interview
  •  Tito Q&A
  •  World famous Titos
  •  Russia's plans
  •  Hilton's 1967 dream
 
 VIDEO
Fresh out of the capsule, Tito exclaims over his journey. CNN's Steve Harrigan met the space tourist in Kazakhstan (May 6)

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)
 
INTERACTIVE
A 360° stroll through the international space station
Cult3D models of the international space station
 
IN-DEPTH SPECIALS
 
MESSAGE BOARD
 

"It's as though we've built a very special hospital or something, a very expensive hospital or laboratory here on Earth, and then one of the partners in it decided to use the other end of the building for something else," Glenn said on "The Capital Gang."

In 1962, as one of the original Mercury astronauts, Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. He later became a U.S. senator from Ohio and returned to space at age 77 on a 1998 space shuttle mission.

He said Tito's trip did no real harm, "But I think he took a slot away from somebody who should have been up there on basic research ... I just think it takes a slot away from what the purpose of the mission is."

Glenn said space tourism will come "in the natural course of things," but the 16 partners in the international space station Alpha should set ground rules for how future excursions should be conducted.

NASA had reservations about Tito's flight, urging him to wait until more work had been done to the station. NASA administrator Daniel Goldin criticized Tito before a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday, telling lawmakers his flight has put "incredible stress on the men and women of NASA."

"Mr. Tito does not realize the effort of thousands of people, United States and Russia, who are working to protect his safety and the safety of everyone else."

Glenn's 1998 flight was meant to compare the effects of space flight on the elderly with its impact on younger astronauts. It also faced criticism from some observers who considered it more a publicity stunt for NASA than scientific research.

"They wouldn't let me do an EVA (spacewalk) incidentally, because they were afraid I'd wander off some place at my age," Glenn said.



RELATED STORIES:
Space tourist earns his keep
May 4, 2001
Many long for Tito's excellent adventure
May 3, 2001
Space tourist visits U.S. turf on orbiting outpost
May 2, 2001
Orbiting tourist to son: Space a 'piece of cake'
May 2, 2001
Tourist empties stomach, fulfills wish
April 30, 2001
Space sleepovers more science fiction than fact
April 30, 2001
Tourist floating on air over visit to space station
April 30, 2001
Dennis Tito: A passion for space
April 30, 2001
Tourist enters space station
April 27, 2001
Russia 'plans more space tourism'
April 29, 2001
Space tourist Tito blasts off
April 28, 2001

RELATED SITES:
NASA
International Space Station

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


 Search   





MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 














Back to the top