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Tito remains confident he will fly to ISS
Posted: Fri, Mar 23, 2001, 3:54 PM ET (2054 GMT)
Dennis Tito on a Russian zero-g plane, courtesy Space Adventures American millionaire Dennis Tito said Thursday he still believes Russia will include him on a crew of a Soyuz spacecraft that will fly to the International Space Station at the end of April. In interviews with the Orlando Sentinel and on CNN's Larry King Live, Tito said that he believes Russia is behind his flight "100 percent" despite American opposition that flared up earlier this week when NASA refused to allow Tito to train at the Johnson Space Center with his Russian crewmates. "As long as I can get back to Russia, I'm home free," Tito said on CNN. While NASA continues to state that the timing of Tito's flight is "really, really wrong" — as described on CNN by NASA deputy associate administrator William Readdy — Tito believes that the agency's opposition to his flight has other roots. "Iím a threat — a threat to the astronaut corps and the elitist attitude they have," he told the Sentinel. Despite the entrenched positions, there is a possibility of some kind of compromise: SPACE.com reported Friday that NASA administrator Dan Goldin and Rosaviakosmos director-general Yuri Koptev have established several working groups to look into the issue over the next week. Goldin and Koptev will then meet in Japan in early April to discuss the conclusions those groups reach.
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