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ISS partners officially approve Tito's flight
Posted: Tue, Apr 24, 2001, 4:27 PM ET (2027 GMT)
Dennis Tito on a Russian zero-g plane, courtesy Space Adventures The International Space Station partner nations granted their official approval Tuesday to the upcoming flight to the station by California businessman Dennis Tito. The partners issued an exemption that will allow Tito to visit the station despite the fact that Tito has not received the training that NASA and other partners, with the exception of Russia, wanted him to receive. The flight, though, may not have a sequel in the foreseeable future: as part of the exemption, all the ISS partners agreed not to send another non-professional to the station until criteria regarding crew selection. "This agreement among the ISS partners should preclude a similar issue arising in the future," a NASA press release noted. Even without the official approval of the ISS partners, it appeared likely that Russia would include Tito on the crew of a Soyuz scheduled for launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan at 3:37 am EDT (0737 GMT) Saturday, April 28. If launched on schedule the Soyuz will dock with the station two days later and spend a week at the orbiting facility before Tito and his two Russian crewmates return to Earth in another Soyuz spacecraft already docked to the station.
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