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Goldin bashes Tito, praises Cameron
Posted: Thu, May 3, 2001, 11:33 AM ET (1533 GMT)
Dan Goldin NASA administrator Dan Goldin sharply criticized Dennis Tito Wednesday for taking his trip to the International Space Station over the agency's objections, and said that NASA may seek reimbursement from Russia for costs associated with the trip. Speaking before the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, Goldin said that Tito's trip has "put a lot of stress" on NASA personnel and suggested that Tito was ungrateful for the work they did to ensure his safety while on ISS. Goldin said that NASA is looking into seeking reimbursement from Russia for the costs the agency incurred associated with the flight: "We will do an assessment, and will get redress and reimbursement," he said. He did not estimate how much NASA would request, although one Congressman suggested it could be more than the $20 million Tito reportedly paid for the flight. Russian officials, however, are opposed to any reimbursement, saying there is no agreement between the two agencies that would permit such a payment. At the same hearing Goldin praised another potential space tourist, director James Cameron, who Goldin said had approached NASA about flying in space last year but was willing to wait until the ISS partner nations worked out protocols for nonprofessional astronauts. Goldin went so far as to call the Canadian-born director an "American patriot" because he understood that there "is the right way and the wrong way to do things" in the realm of space tourism. Tito, meanwhile, continues his relatively uneventful visit to ISS, enjoying the view of the Earth and occasionally talking with reporters and family members.
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