Russia, U.S. to discuss Dennis Tito's space hike

Next week representatives of Russia's Space Agency and the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration will discuss the matter of the first-ever space tourist, American Dennis Tito's flight to the International Space Station. RIA Novosti was told this on Friday at the Russian Space Agency. It said that "the ended control tests of the crew of the upcoming visiting expedition riding the Russian manned spaceship Soyuz TM to the ISS have shown that all crew members -- commander Talgat Musabayev, flight engineer Yuri Baturin and tourist Dennis Tito -- have been well prepared for the mission". Blastoff is scheduled for April 28 from the Baikonur cosmodrome. After two days of flight they will dock with the ISS, where they will spend 6 days. After ship replacement /they will leave the ISS in the Soyuz TM which was brought to the station in 2000 November and has almost exhausted its service life/, the cosmonauts will land in the Kazakhstan steppes on May 5. The new Soyuz TM will remain at the ISS as a "duty" ship to ensure flight safety of the second host expedition, which has been inside since mid-March 2001, said the Russian Space Agency. Meanwhile, NASA specialists still disagree with the idea of the flight by their fellow-countryman Dennis Tito as a tourist and say he is not trained enough. The negotiations between Russian Space Agency chief Yuri Koptev and NASA chief Daniel Goldin are to settle the differences, said the Russian agency.

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