04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
Dennis Tito, 60, a former NASA engineer who is now a Los Angeles-based CEO of a financial consulting firm, is getting his wish: He's going to be the first tourist in space. The New York Times reports that Tito's path was cleared on Tuesday when the 18 nations building the International Space Station signed an agreement that exempted the millionaire from current guidelines that prohibit non-astronauts to visit the station. Tito has already paid the financially strapped Russian Aviation and Space Agency $20 million to fulfill his lifelong dream of space travel. He and two Russian astronauts are now scheduled to lift off on Saturday for the 10-day flight. Tito has already signed an agreement saying that he will pay for any damage or breakage that he may cause in flight, and that he will hold no one responsible in case of his injury or death.