Although a signed deal with the Russian Space Agency is still needed, 'N Sync member Lance Bass won the endorsement of U.S.-based NASA and other space agencies today (Aug. 27) in his bid to fly to the

Although a signed deal with the Russian Space Agency is still needed, 'N Sync member Lance Bass won the endorsement of U.S.-based NASA and other space agencies today (Aug. 27) in his bid to fly to the international space station this fall. The 23-year-old entertainer got the news while training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. All that remains in his way is a financial agreement with the Russian space program; both sides have been haggling over the deal for months.

A round-trip ticket to the space station on a Russian spacecraft costs as much as $20 million.

In July, the Russian Space Agency submitted Bass' name for one of three seats on a rocket scheduled to blast off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 28. A panel representing NASA and the space agencies of Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada today signed off on Bass' participation after weeks of telephone conferences to discuss his background and qualifications.

"They've agreed that Mr. Bass meets the criteria and is suitable as a crew member," said a NASA spokesperson. The recommendation has been forwarded to a board of high-ranking space agency officials who will review Bass' candidacy and issue a final ruling in September.

Bass would be the world's third paying space tourist and the youngest person ever in space. South African Internet tycoon Mark Shuttleworth was the first non-astronaut to venture into space on a Russian craft, following the lead of California businessman Dennis Tito, who made the trip to the space station in 2001.


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