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Status of Next Visitor to ISS

Submitted with permission of the Houston Chronicle to Arthur - N1ORC

MOSCOW - Russia's space agency said Wednesday it might scrap plans for 'N
Sync singer Lance Bass to join an October mission to the International
Space Station because he had failed to meet a payment deadline. 

"There are a number of deadlines for the installments to be paid, but the
first part has already been delayed. Theoretically, we can already
dissolve his contract," Rosaviakosmos spokesman Sergei Gorbunov said. 

Bass, backed by a consortium of companies rounded up by a Hollywood
producer, David Krieff, has signed a preliminary contract but has yet to
secure a final deal guaranteeing a seat aboard the Soyuz craft. He is
already training in Star City, just outside Moscow. 

"If Star City, where he has also not paid a large part of his training
fees, decides to cut short his training, this would be enough to take him
off the flight," Gorbunov added. 


Bass's space suit will be emblazoned with the names of sponsors, Archerd
said. Their logos will be seen during the eight TV shows Bass expects to
beam down from space. Bass will also sing during the trip, Archerd added.

Both were reported to have paid up to $20 million. 

"His backers have sent us a letter asking us to set back the deadline to
August 9," Gorbunov said. "If they do not pay up on the 9th, I don't know
what will happen. Maybe we will follow their wishes again, and wait
again. But we cannot wait forever." 

Russia's decision to accept Bass as a candidate for the third seat on the
Soyuz taxi alarmed U.S. officials, who have expressed worries that the
pop star may be ill-prepared for the flight. 

Rosaviakosmos has said it needs Bass's payment to help it foot bills and
service its Soyuz space fleet. 

If successful in his space bid, Bass would wrest the title of youngest
person in space from Soviet cosmonaut German Titov, who blasted off in
1961 at age 25. 

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