[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Bass to leave program

Copied with permission of the Houston Chronicle by Arthur - N1ORC

Sept. 3, 2002, 12:07PM

Bass out of sync with Russia, space trip
Russians oust 'N Sync singer from cosmonaut training program
Associated Press
MOSCOW -- 'N Sync singer Lance Bass was asked to leave Russia's cosmonaut
training program because his sponsors didn't come up with the $20 million
for a trip to the International Space Station, a Russian space official
said today. 

Sergei Gorbunov, spokesman for the Russian Space Agency, said the
Russians negotiated with Bass "in good faith," but "his sponsors didn't
fulfill the conditions of the contract and we never received the money." 

The U.S. pop star had been granted several deadline extensions after
failing to get the money needed to secure his seat, Gorbunov said. He
said the decision to end negotiations was made after "crude violations"
of the contract. 

The singer could not immediately be reached. His Russian spokesman, Yuri
Nikiforov of Atlas Aerospace, said there would be no comment Tuesday.
Bass' supporters have blamed paperwork problems for the delay. 

Gorbunov said Bass, who had hoped to fly to the International Space
Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on Oct. 28, would be leaving
Russia's Star City within the next few hours. 

"It's over," Gorbunov said. 

Bass began training in July at Star City, and just returned to Russia on
Sunday after spending a week at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston
with the other two crew members. 

Jeff Manber, president of MirCorp, which had been working on behalf of
Bass, continued to express optimism Tuesday that the mission would go

"It is a little dramatic to say he was kicked out," said Manber, who
added that he was headed into another meeting with Russian space
officials to discuss the payment details. 

"He was training at Star City yesterday. He is not training today, but he
will be back there probably tomorrow or the day after." 

Gorbunov said that in place of Bass, the Russians would likely send up a
cargo container with extra equipment needed on the International Space
Station. Gorbunov said the container has already been prepared and is
ready to go. 

Bass, 23, would have been the youngest person yet in space. Last year,
California businessman Dennis Tito became the first space tourist despite
opposition from NASA, which at the time opposed sending nonprofessionals
to space. South African Internet tycoon Mark Shuttleworth made the trip
this spring. Unlike Bass, those two did not rely on corporate sponsors to
pay for the trip. 
Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org