The Russian Aviation and Space Agency, or Rosaviakosmos, may terminate its contract with teen icon Lance Bass of US boy band *NSYNC for a commercial flight to the International Space Station (ISS), which could make him a third 'space tourist' thus far.
The statement which may put a damper on that dream was made on Wednesday by Rosaviakosmos spokesman Sergei Gorbunov, who said that under the contract, the bill for the flight is to be paid off by instalments. However, one instalment remains outstanding to date, he noted, warning that "If the contractual conditions are violated further on, Rosaviakosmos would terminate it." Gorbunov went on to say that the one instalment the would-be 'space tourist' number 3 did pay was not at all substantial. Hence, "this delay in cash transfer is cause for concern." Rosaviakosmos officials disclosed in addition that previous space tourists - businessmen Dennis Tito of America and Mark Shuttleworth of South Africa - paid sums to the tune of $20 million each for their jaunts to the ISS. Bass' situation is somewhat different in that his bill was to be footed by a Hollywood movie group, which intended to use his footage in space in subsequent TV shows.
"If the contract is terminated, the crew that will head for a 10-day mission on the ISS on the Soyuz piloted spaceship will consist of the commander, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Zaletin, and the engineer, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne of Belgium. The third seat, which is reserved for a space tourist, will remain empty, or it will be filled by another Russian cosmonaut," Rosaviakosmos announced.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969