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The first space tourist will take off from a launch site in Kazakhstan, but the spacecraft lift off

The reason: at this stage, it is not possible to connect two ships at the same time to the station
Alpha space
by Tamara Traubman

April 27 2001

Archive photo: Reuters
Denis Tito shows off the space suit she is wearing
will use
(Update, 17:00 The Russians refuse to delay the launch of the spacecraft)

The "Soyuz" spacecraft, which is supposed to be
Launched on Saturday with the space tourist

A senior official in the Russian space agency said today (Friday) that Russia has decided
Launch the "Soyuz" rocket to the International Space Station at the appointed time
to begin with. In doing so, Russia ignored NASA's request to extend by two days the
The mission of the American space shuttle "Endeavour", after the computers failed
Prevented an experiment with a robotic arm installed at the station.

Extending Endeavour's mission creates a scheduling problem, since the spacecraft
The Russian, carrying the first "space tourist", is supposed to arrive at the station
at the same time the ferry docks there. Both spacecraft cannot dock
on the space station at the same time.

However, officials at the Russian Space Agency said that any decision
Will be reconsidered depending on the circumstances a few hours before the launch.

14: 00 Update

Dennis Tito, the American tycoon who paid Russia twenty million dollars
In order for it to fly him to the International Space Station, it should leave in days
Coming from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz rocket
Russian. Tito was originally supposed to take off tomorrow together with two others
Cosmonauts arriving for maintenance work at the station and hall, due to the malfunctions
that occurred during the installation of the robotic arm on the space station, the mission was extended
The American space shuttle Endeavour. At this stage it is not possible to connect two
spacecraft to the space station.

Tito, 60, an aeronautical engineer by training and a former employee of NASA
(US space agency), will arrive at the International Space Station on
Crimson. He will stay at the station for six days. Time spent in space, including flights
Round trip is ten
Days.

At the beginning of the week, NASA, Japan and the European Space Agency agreed
And the Canadian woman, with obvious reluctance, for Tito's visit to the space station. That's later
who managed to get Russia to commit that the Russian cosmonauts would fly
With him, Yuri Batorin and Talget Mosayev, will follow in Tito's footsteps
at the station carefully.

Tito's stay will also be limited to the Russian region. It should also be noted that if
If Tito causes any damage to the station, he will have to cover all expenses
The correction.

NASA's reasons are mainly safety and organizational. according to
The agency, at this stage, a visit by an untrained person may compromise safety
The astronauts building the station and also in the safety of Tito himself.
Tito's critics say that the American tycoon bought his way to flight
in space without considering progress
Construction of the station.

The Americans say that the visit, Tito and Russia arranged without any coordination
with the member states, will disrupt the busy schedule of the astronauts
building the station Yesterday, for example, an astronaut expedition was still working
On completing the installation of a new robotic arm at the station.

Tito was supposed to fly to the Russian space station Mir. But after the Russians
They shut down Mir last month and crashed it in the ocean,
Tito changed his flight destination to the International Space Station.

NASA sent Tito a request to delay his visit to a later date. but
Tito refused. He justified his refusal by saying that "I dreamed about it so much
A long time...there are things that when you want to do them you simply have to
do them".

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