Dennis Anthony Tito (born August 8, 1940 in Queens, New York) is an Italian American engineer and multimillionaire, most widely known as the first space tourist to fund his own trip into space. In mid-2001, he spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of ISS EP-1, a visiting mission to the International Space Station. This mission was launched by the spacecraft Soyuz TM-32, and was landed by Soyuz TM-31.
Tito has a Bachelor of Science in Astronautics and Aeronautics from New York University, 1962 and a Master of Science in Engineering Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute satellite campus in Hartford, Connecticut. He is a member of Psi Upsilon and received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on 18 May, 2002 and is a former scientist of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 1972, he founded Wilshire Associates, a leading provider of investment management, consulting and technology services in Santa Monica, California. Tito serves an international clientele representing assets of $12.5 trillion. Wilshire relies on the field of quantitative analytics, which uses mathematical tools to analyze market risks - a methodology Tito is credited with helping to develop by applying the same techniques he used to determine a spacecraft's path at JPL. Despite a career change from aerospace engineering to investment management, Tito remained interested in space exploration.
Tito was appointed to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners in the 1990s and led the board to support the landmark 1994 state ruling protecting Mono Lake from excessive water diversions by the city.