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Last Updated: Friday, 18 July, 2003, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Space couple can't wait to wed
Yuri Malenchenko connects electrical and communication cables between the Zarya and Zvezda modules of the International Space Station during a televised spacewalk
Yuri Malenchenko: Tied up at the moment
A Russian man and an American woman are planning to tie the knot by-proxy because flights between them are impossibly infrequent and astronomically expensive.

Yekaterina Dmitriev, 26, who lives in Richmond, Texas, plans to marry Russian Air Force Colonel, Yuri Malenchenko, next month with Texas laws that allow absent partners to marry, because he is in orbit.

Mr Malenchenko, 41, is a cosmonaut currently several hundred miles above Earth in the International Space Station.

Their wedding date is 10 August, but Yekaterina's man will not be returning until October.

"This shows you that long-distance relationships do work," she told the Houston Chronicle after being granted a marriage licence from a Texas county clerk.


Diane Wilson, County Clerk for Fort Bend county, told BBC News Online she was "ecstatic" to have been the first person to issue such a licence.

"Nasa confirmed it is the first time this has ever happened, so we threw a party in my office to celebrate this momentous event," she said.

"About 100 people, including my staff and journalists dressed in red, white and blue because they are the colours of the US, the Russian and the Texan state flags.

"We marry a lot of people when one partner is absent either because they are in the military or are incarcerated. I joked with Yekaterina that her husband-to-be is both in the army and 'encapsulated', but that neither posed a problem."

The couple plan to recite their vows by phone link on the day, but the duty of attorney, Harry Noe, has confirmed he will step in to take Mr Malenchenko's place if their connection is lost.

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