BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Space tourist dispute deepens
Dennis Tito (far left), the first paying space tourist
Dennis Tito (far left), the first paying space tourist
Nasa has criticised the first space tourist for causing stress at the US space agency.

Nasa chief Daniel Goldin said that Russia had agreed to reimburse the costs of Dennis Tito's voyage, in terms of money and lost research time.


The current situation has put an incredible stress on the men and women of Nasa

Daniel Goldin, Nasa
But Russian space officials later denied making such an agreement.

Mr Tito, a 60-year-old multimillionaire, paid Russia some $20m (14m) to travel to the International Space Station (ISS).

According to his son, Mr Tito is spending his time in space looking out of the window, listening to music and getting his money's worth.

After initial objections, Nasa eventually agreed to allow Mr Tito on board the ISS, provided he did not enter the US modules unescorted.

Guidelines

Formal guidelines are being drawn up in a bid to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing disagreement between Nasa and its Russian partners over whether Mr Tito should have been allowed on board.

"The current situation has put an incredible stress on the men and women of Nasa," Mr Goldin told a US House of Representatives panel on space and aeronautics on Wednesday.

"Mr Tito does not realise the efforts of thousands of people, in the United States and Russia, who are working to protect his safety and the safety of everyone else."

The Nasa chief said the cost of Mr Tito's voyage - in money and lost research time - would be assessed after the mission ends and that Russia had agreed to reimburse these costs.

Russian space officials later denied making such an agreement.

"There is no agreement" on such a reimbursement, Russian Space Agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov told the news agency AFP on Thursday.

He added that the agency was "in the dark" about the matter.

Titanic

Daniel Goldin also praised another potential amateur astronaut - film director James Cameron - for delaying any trip until the time was right.

He said the director and producer of the film Titanic had approached him about six months ago and asked him about going into space.

When Mr Goldin told Mr Cameron there was no protocol for screening or training, or even a known time when he might fly, Mr Goldin said the director had told him he would delay any trip until an "appropriate time".

Mr Tito arrived at the station on Monday. He will stay for about six days, then return to Earth aboard a Soyuz craft.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

28 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Profile: Tito the spaceman
02 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Space tourists queue up
30 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
'I love space' says pioneer tourist
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories