Southern California Businessman and private space travel pioneer Dennis Tito has been elected to the X PRIZE Foundation Board of Trustees. “I’m joining the X PRIZE Foundation Board of Trustees because I’d like to see a new generation of privately owned and operated spaceships.  These are the ships that will fly thousands of people into space on an annual basis.” 

Mr. Tito is one of two civilian space travelers who have ridden with the Russian Space Agency to the International Space Station. Tito explains “Millions of people could easily be qualified for space.  Once the price of traveling to space comes down to the price of an SUV, I think we’ll see thousands of people sign up.” 

Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation and fellow California businessman Dr. Peter Diamandis stated “We are very excited to have Dennis join our Board of Trustees.  His dedication to this field and position as a spokesperson for this emerging public space travel industry will help make X PRIZE a visible and global success” said

The X PRIZE is patterned from the aviation prizes of the early 1900s, and in particular the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. More than 20 teams are entered in the X PRIZE competition, a $10 million purse to be awarded to the first person or team to fly a privately-funded three person suborbital spaceship 100km (62 miles) to the edge of space, return safely, and then fly again within two weeks. Teams fromArgentina,Canada,Israel,Romania,Russia,UK, and theUnited Statesare entered. A complete listing and profiles of their spaceships can be found at

“The X PRIZE has done an excellent job of capturing the public imagination and stimulating dozens of teams to design and develop new low-cost methods of traveling on sub-orbital trips into space.” – Dennis Tito

Dennis Tito became the first private citizen to travel into space when he boarded the International Space Station on April 28, 2001. The world’s first private space explorer, Mr. Tito is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Wilshire Associates. He began his career in 1964 when he joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, where he worked for five years. While there, he helped design trajectories for the Mariner 4 and 9 missions to Mars and the Mariner 5 mission to Venus.

In 1972, he left NASA’s JPL and began using his mathematical and engineering knowledge to develop new approaches in the analysis of stock market risks. He then worked on Wall Street as an investment management consultant. In the early 1970s, he founded Wilshire Associates, an investment management consulting firm based in Santa Monica, California. Wilshire integrated computers with engineering and investment concepts and developed portfolio management tools. Mr. Tito created the Wilshire 5000 stock index, the broadest indicator of US stock market activity. By 1998, Wilshire Associates was the third-largest investment management consulting firm in the U.S. — its 250 specialists advised clients with a total of half a trillion dollars in assets. Since the early 1990s, Mr. Tito has concentrated on philanthropic projects, such as building a medical research facility at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mr. Tito received his B.S. from New York University College of Engineering in astronautics and aeronautics in 1962 and an M.S. in Engineering Science from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1964. He resides in Santa Monica, California.

Also elected to the X PRIZE Board was Diane Murphy, Vice President, Communications at the European Aeronautical Defense & Space Company (EADS) and Barry Thompson, career entrepreneur and CTO of JBThompson, LLC.

The X PRIZE Competition

About the X PRIZE Foundation (

The X PRIZE Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organization, with headquarters inSt. Louis,Missouri. Supported by private donations and the St. Louis Community, the foundation’s mission is to provide incentives in the private sector tomake space travel frequent and affordable for the general public.A winner of the X PRIZE Competition is expected within the next 12-18 months.

To find out how you can join the efforts of the X PRIZE, or involved your neighborhood school or community center with X PRIZE educational programs, log onto or contact the office at 314-533-2002.