General News

No Space for Lance Bass

By:
Sep 03, 2002 | 10:28am EDT

'N Sync singer Lance Bass' goal of heading to space next month is looking more and more like pie in the sky.

On Tuesday, Russian officials said Bass--who hoped to fly to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on Oct. 28--will not be taking the trip after all, Reuters reports.

Bass will instead be replaced with a cargo container.

"After failing to fulfill the conditions of his contract, Lance Bass has been told that his training at the Cosmonaut Training Center has ended and that his flight to the ISS is impossible," spokesman Sergei Gorbunov told Reuters. "Bass is now at Star City, gathering his stuff and preparing to leave."

Bass, who was backed by a group of sponsors mustered by Hollywood producer David Kreiff, failed to come up with the $20 million needed to secure his seat.

Russian officials say the mission will now go ahead with Russian commander Sergei Zalyotin, Belgian flight engineer Frank DeWinne and the cargo container.

"It's over," said Gorbunov.

But Bass' agent Cindy Owens told CNN that negotiations between Russia and the singer's representatives are continuing. She believes Bass will be back in Star City by the end of the week.

Jeff Manber, president of MirCorp, which had been working on behalf of Bass, continued to express optimism Tuesday that the mission would go ahead.

"It is a little dramatic to say he was kicked out," said Manber, who added that he was headed into another meeting with Russian space officials to discuss the payment details.

The singer began training in July at Star City, and just returned to Russia on Sunday after spending a week at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston with the other two crew members.

At 23, Bass would have been the youngest person ever in space, and the third space tourist to pay his way into the outer limits, behind U.S. millionaire Dennis Tito and South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth.

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