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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
'N Sync star's space trip blocked
Lance Bass, Sergei Zalyotin  and Frank Dewine
Bass trained with crew Sergei Zalyotin and Frank Dewine
'N Sync singer Lance Bass has been told he cannot be the third space tourist after failing to come up with the $20m (12.8m) needed to secure his seat on the next Russian space mission.

The news comes just days after the performer announced he had been given the go-ahead to travel to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz rocket.

The Russian Space Agency confirmed Bass has been asked to leave the cosmonaut training programme, citing "crude violations" of his contract.

Lance Bass
Bass had to be taught safety procedures
"It's over," said spokesman Sergei Gorbunov. Bass had been training with the agency since July to prove his fitness for the mission and had just returned to the Star City camp, near Moscow, following a week spent at Nasa's Johnson Space Center.

If his mission had gone ahead the 23-year-old would have been the youngest person in space, and the first entertainer.

The Russian Space Agency said Bass and his representatives had been given several deadlines in which to come up with the money but had failed to hand over any cash.

But Jeff Manbar, president of Mir-Corp, which had been working on behalf of Bass, insisted it was not the end of the singer's dream and that negotiations were still ongoing.

"It is a little dramatic to say he was kicked out," said Mr Manbar.

Lance Bass
Nasa man: Lance Bass dons his suit
"He was training at Star City yesterday. He is not training today, but he will be back there probably tomorrow or the day after."

Mr Gorbunov said the Russians would probably send up a cargo container with extra equipment needed on the International Space Station in place of Bass when the rocket launches on 28 October.

Bass had been hoping to follow in the footsteps of the first two space tourists, US businessman Dennis Tito and South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth.

He went as far as undergoing a minor heart operation to rectify an irregular heartbeat in order to be declared fit to fly.

The boy band singer has held the ambition of joining a mission since childhood, when he went to a space camp.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt
"It looks like it's back to the day job for Lance Bass"
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