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Lance Bass Completes Initial Testing At NASA

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Singer Bass passes tests for space trip
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
'NSync singer Lance Bass cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday in his bid to
visit the international space station this fall as a guest astronaut of
the Russians. 

NASA and the station's four other major partner nations endorsed the
23-year-old entertainer's visit to the 240-mile high orbital base,
following a wide ranging review of his medical fitness and personal

"They have agreed that Bass meets the criteria and is suitable as a crew
member," said NASA spokeswoman Debra Rahn. The review was conducted by
representatives of NASA, the station's managing partner, as well as the
space agencies of Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia. 

Bass is training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston this week for
a 10-day trip to the space station. The launching aboard a Russian Soyuz
rocket is scheduled for Oct. 28 from Kazakhstan in Central Asia. 

Russia's cash-strapped space program nominated Bass as a paying space
tourist on the mission on July 12. 

Though it did not publicly announce specific findings on Tuesday, the
committee evaluated the singer's medical fitness, training, interpersonal
skills and education. All nominees are also checked for prospective
criminal conduct as well as drug and alcohol abuse. 

Tuesday's endorsement will be forwarded to a second space station
evaluation board comprised of the spaceflight chiefs from each nation.
That high level review is scheduled for September. 

Meanwhile, Bass must still satisfy undisclosed Russian financial terms
for the flight. 

A Los Angeles production company is backing the mission and plans for
Bass to star in a series of television specials that document the
singer's flight and his training in Russia and the United States. 

Bass would become the third space tourist. California investor Dennis
Tito and South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth paid a reported $20
million for similar flights in 2001 and last April. 

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