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Thu, Jul 07, 2005

Another Tourista Prepares For Space

Gregory Olsen Is Russia's Next Customer

An American camera-maker is slated to become the next space tourist aboard the International Space Station, as Russia resumes its controversial program of allowing novices to cavort aboard the International Space Station in exchange for millions of dollars.

This time, it's 59-year old Gregory Olsen, head of Sensors, Unlimited, a company that makes infra-red cameras, according to the Russian Daily newspaper Gazeta. He follows American Dennis Tito and South African Mark Shuttleworth, becoming the third person to pay more than $20 million for the privilege of flying into space.

"A contract between Roskosmos and Space Adventures, which sent Tito and Shuttleworth into space, was signed a few days ago," Roskosmos press secretary Vyacheslav Davidenko told the Russian newspaper. The flight is scheduled for October.

At first, Olsen's plans hit a potential snag. During early centrifuge training, Olsen apparently showed signs of health problems. He's now following a Russian doctor's plan to get in shape for the flight. He was declared fit for the mission on May 30th. If NASA approves, Olsen will join cosmonaut Valery Tokarev and astronaut William MacArthur aboard October launch of a Soyuz TMA-7 vehicle bringing the replacement crew to the ISS.

FMI: www.spaceflight.nasa.gov

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