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Russia may add cosmonaut to Soyuz taxi flight
Posted: Tue, Oct 8, 2002, 1:29 PM ET (1729 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) The Russian space agency Rosaviakosmos is considering adding a cosmonaut to the crew of this months Soyuz taxi flight to the ISS, replacing would-be space tourist Lance Bass. RIA Novosti reported Monday that Yuri Lonchakov, currently a member of the backup crew of the Soyuz TMA-1 flight, may be added to the prime crew, joining commander Sergei Zaletin and Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne. Russian officials had said last month that they would fly a cargo container in place of a third crew member when they removed Bass from the crew for failure to pay the $20 million fee for the flight; no reason was given for replacing the cargo with another crew member. Lonchakov, who was a member of the space shuttle Endeavour crew that flew to the ISS in 2001 on mission STS-100, was reportedly planned to command the next taxi mission in early 2003. A decision on the makeup of the crew is expected by Friday, after the crews complete their final examinations before the October 27 launch.
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