'N Sync's Lance Bass started a new training session at Russia's cosmonaut center yesterday (Sept. 23), despite being excluded from the crew of a rocket heading to the international space station next
'N Sync's Lance Bass started a new training session at Russia's cosmonaut center yesterday (Sept. 23), despite being excluded from the crew of a rocket heading to the international space station next month, the head of a Russian company that works with Bass said.
Bass, who was ordered to leave the Star City cosmonaut training ground earlier this month after failing to make payments on a contract that would have made him the youngest person ever in space, has returned to the facility outside Moscow, said Yuri Nikiforov, general director of Atlas Airspace.
"He will not go in October for sure, but he just doesn't want to interrupt the program," Nikiforov said by telephone. He spoke after Russia's Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed official at the training center in Star City as saying officials there had decided last Saturday to permit Bass to resume training.
Officials at the facility could not be reached for comment. Last week, Russian space agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov did not deny Bass might return, but stressed that if he did he would not be training for the October flight or any other space mission.
Bass began training in July, hoping to rocket away from Kazakhstan on Oct. 28, boosted by corporate sponsors and a seven-part television documentary. But TV producers failed to raise the estimated $20 million fare, and Russian space officials said on Sept. 3 that he would not be part of the crew.
At 23, Bass would have been the youngest person ever in space. He also would have been the third paying space tourist after California businessman Dennis Tito and South African Internet tycoon Mark Shuttleworth, who flew to the station on Russian rockets.
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