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NASA gives tentative approval to Shuttleworth flight
Posted: Wed, Dec 12, 2001, 10:32 AM ET (1532 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) NASA officials confirmed Tuesday that they given their tentative approval to a flight next year by space tourist Mark Shuttleworth. Reuters reported that NASA and the other partner nations of the International Space Station have said that they have agreed "in principle" to the flight of the South African to the station next April as one member of the three-person Soyuz taxi crew. NASA and other partners, excluding Russia, has strongly opposed a similar flight earlier this year by Dennis Tito, but eventually relented. The Tito controversy led the ISS partners to develop a set of criteria for future flights by "non-professional" astronauts, like Shuttleworth. A NASA spokesperson did say that there were some final, unspecified details that would have to be resolved before Shuttleworth would be cleared. Shuttleworth, who officially signed the contract for the flight earlier this month, is reportedly paying $20-25 million for the flight.
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