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US, Russia Do Space Tourist Deal

Following Dennis Tito's trailblazing flight to the space station earlier this year, NASA has bowed to the inevitable and is now prepared to allow additional space tourists to visit the station
 Washington (AFP) Aug 10, 2001
The United States and Russia have agreed to allow more "space tourists" to visit the orbiting International Space Station, The Washington Post said Friday.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian space agency have drafted criteria setting standards for "space flight participants," as the space visitors are to be called, said the daily quoting Yuri Koptev, director of the Russian space agency.

Some friction developed between the two space agencies when Russia allowed 60-year-old California millionaire Dennis Tito to spend a week's vacation aboard the ISS in early May for a fee of nearly 20 million dollars (22 million euros).

NASA opposed the idea of allowing inexperienced people aboard the space shuttle and the ISS for safety and operational reasons, while Moscow saw nothing wrong in providing its cash-strapped space agency with a novel source of funds.

"We have drawn a line in relations with our American and other partners and this problem is now a thing of the past," Koptev was quoted as saying by the daily.

A NASA spokeswoman said details of the agreement would not be made public until it is signed, which Koptev said should happen this month or in early September.

But according to the daily, the agreement called for space tourists to pass a series of requirements, undergo physical training, demonstrate foreign language ability, and meet a "personal suitability" test.

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South African Could Fly To Iss In April: Russian Space Chief
Moscow (AFP) Aug 09, 2001
South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth, who wants to become the world's next "space tourist," could make his flight onboard a Russian craft as early as April, the head of the Russian space agency said on Thursday.



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