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Russians: Space wedding is first and last

Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC
Permission granted by the Houston Chronicle

Aug. 9, 2003, 12:21AM

Russians: Space wedding is first and last
Reuters News Service-Houston Chronicle

MOSCOW - It may well be a giant leap for man and wife, but for Russia it
is one step too far. 

This weekend, Yuri Malenchenko, commander of the International Space
Station, will be the first man to get married from space. Russia said
Friday the planning had been so fraught, it would never allow its
cosmonauts to do so again. 

"I think that we will have the next crew sign a contract with a
provision that they will not get married during their mission," said
Sergei Gorbunov, Russian space agency spokesman. 

"After all, this has been a strange series of events." 

Malenchenko, 41, is to wed U.S. citizen Ekaterina Dmitriev, 26,
exchanging vows by space telephone with his bride in Houston, the home
of U.S. space mission control. 

The cosmic couple will be separated vertically from each other by 240
miles in the first marriage ceremony to stray beyond Earth's atmosphere.
Despite the headaches for Russia's space agency, this has evoked some
national pride. 

"Yuri Gagarin was first in space. We had the first woman in space. We
had the first tourist in space. And now this is another first," said

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