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Report: "secret deal" struck to allow Tito's ISS trip
Posted: Sun, Feb 25, 2001, 8:44 PM ET (0144 GMT)
Dennis Tito on a Russian zero-g plane, courtesy Space Adventures A "secret deal" between American and Russian officials has been reached that would allow California millionaire Dennis Tito to fly to the International Space Station in April as the first commercial space tourist, the Sunday Times of London reported. Under the agreement, NASA would approve of Tito's flight if he passes stringent health tests and "works his passage" while on ISS, the Times claimed. Tito would also undergo three weeks of training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in addition to his current training in Russia. Many NASA officials and others had objected to Tito's flight, as noted in an Orlando Sentinel article published Sunday which cited a "growing number of critics" to Tito's $20-million flight. NASA and Rosaviakosmos officials are scheduled to meet in Houston this week to discuss issues including guidelines for visitors to the station, according to the Sentinel, raising the possibility that any deal involving Tito might be announced then. Such a meeting was planned earlier in the month but cancelled when the Russian delegation was unable to attend.
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