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Cosmonauts resume training as NASA copes with Tito issue
Posted: Tue, Mar 20, 2001, 5:46 PM ET (2246 GMT)
Dennis Tito on a Russian zero-g plane, courtesy Space Adventures Cosmonauts scheduled to fly a Soyuz taxi mission to the International Space Station next month resumed training in Houston Tuesday as NASA officials maintained their stance that Dennis Tito should not be a part of the crew of that mission. The training at the Johnson Space Center was scheduled to begin Monday but was postponed in protest by the Russian cosmonauts after they learned that Tito would not be included in their training this week so that NASA could instead discuss administrative and legal issues with him. During a press conference Tuesday afternoon NASA officials maintained their position that it was inappropriate for Tito to fly to the station while the "tempo of work" on the station was very high, but said they were open to flying him on the next Soyuz taxi flight in October if he received the proper training. The officials were evasive, however, about what steps, if any, they could take if Russia decided to fly Tito on the Soyuz mission next month anyway. "We will not do anything to complicate life for the crew on the station," said Michael Hawes, NASA deputy associate administrator for ISS. That may be the path Russia pursues: a Rosaviakosmos spokesman told SPACE.com that Tito will undertake "computer-simulated training" for the American portions of the station when he returns to Moscow, and that Russia was adamant about flying Tito regardless of what NASA says.
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