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Cosmonaut added to Soyuz taxi flight
Posted: Mon, Oct 14, 2002, 9:09 AM ET (1309 GMT)
Yuri Lonchakov (NASA) Russian officials confirmed Friday that a cosmonaut has been added to a Soyuz taxi flight scheduled for launch later this month, taking a seat once held by pop star Lance Bass. Yuri Lonchakov, a member of the backup crew of the Soyuz TMA-1 mission, will be added as a flight engineer on the prime crew, joining commander Sergei Zaletin and Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne. Russian officials has said earlier in the month that Lonchakov was being considered for the prime crew, but he had to first pass final tests conducted last week. After Lance Bass was removed from the crew of the flight in September for failure to pay the $20 million fee for the flight, Russian officials said that a cargo container would fly in his place; no reason for flying Lonchakov instead was given. Lonchakov, who flew on the STS-100 shuttle mission last year, had reportedly been under consideration for the command of the spring 2003 Soyuz taxi flight.
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