Third space tourist Gregory Olsen starts training in Zvezdny Gorodok

The third space tourist, American millionaire Gregory Olsen, Wednesday starts theoretical studies in Zvezdny Gorodok (Stella Town) in the Moscow Region.

"But at first he has to at least slightly understand and speak Russian," a spokesman for the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre told RIA Novosti.

"On April 14, Mr. Olsen arrives in Zvezdny Gorodok, where he will be acquainted with his future teachers and will see his flat; his training will begin later," the spokesman said. Earlier, the Russian doctors from the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems gave the go-ahead to the pre-flight training of the 58-year-old businessman.

Gregory Olsen grew rich, working in the optic sphere. He will pay about $20 million for his space flight in the company with two professional cosmonauts, scheduled for April 2005.

Mr. Olsen himself prefers to be regarded as a private researcher, not a space tourist. Dr. Olsen will become a private space scientist and will make his own experiments in orbit. He plans to fulfil a kind of private space programme on the ISS, Eric Andersen, the head of the American Space Adventures company told RIA Novosti in New York. This company has an official agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency for searching candidates to tourist flights.

The Sensor Unlimited Inc. company, headed by Gregory Olsen, develops and produces high-sensitive film and photo cameras and actively cooperates with the US National Aeronautics & Space Agency (NASA). Apart from testing a new model of the company's apparatus, Mr. Olsen plans to make experiments in growing crystals on board the ISS.

The first space tourist, American Dennis Tito, was on board the ISS in 2001. The second one, Marc Shuttleworth, visited the station in 2002.

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