Businessman from St.Petersburg Sergei Polonski may be the first Russian space tourist in the International Space Station. "He is seen as the main commercial claimant to the nearest mission to the ISS in October. He may be a companion for the professional Russian-American crew of Salizhan Sharipov and Leroy Chiao", a ranking source in the Russian manned programme has said.
If Polonski, over with probation in the Star City, pays his way within the set timeframe, on October 9 this year he will go for a week to the ISS in the Soyuz-TMA spaceship, the source said. His stand-by will be the first cosmonaut of the Russian Space Troops Yuri Shargin. "In case Polonski fails to transfer the set sum in time, the third seat in the Soyuz ship will most probably be taken by the 'free-of-charge' professional Colonel Shargin", the source said.
Polonski first appeared on the "space horizon" back in 2002. Then, the 32-year-old businessman passed a medical examination at the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems and training at the Cosmonaut Preparation Centre in the Star City. For two years he could not find the required 20 million dollars.
"Hopefully, he will find the sum this time, more so that Polonski may get a discount and have to pay 15 instead of 20 million dollars", the source said.
In 1993 Sergei Polonski came to St.Petersburg from Ukraine.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building