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South African tourist flight to ISS still possible
Posted: Sat, Oct 13, 2001, 10:30 AM ET (1430 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) The Russian space agency Rosaviakosmos is leaving open the possibility of flying a South African entrepreneur to the International Space Station next year, Russian media reported Friday. Rosaviakosmos officials said last week that they had broken off negotiations with Mark Shuttleworth after he had made what Rosaviakosmos deemed unreasonable demands regarding the length of the flight and a free reflight if the Soyuz failed to dock with the station. Rosaviakosmos said at the time that they had started negotiations with the European Space Agency to fly Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori on the April 2002 taxi flight in place of Shuttleworth. However, the Interfax news agency reported Friday that negotiations between Shuttleworth and Rosaviakosmos continue and that Shuttleworth has withdrawn many of the demands Russian officials claim he made. In an article in the South African newspaper Business Day, Shuttleworth said that the claims originally made by the Russians reflected the state of negotiations several weeks ago, and that even after Rosaviakosmos's announcement last week the agency was in touch with him, asking him to resume negotiations "as a matter of urgency".
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