It was announced at a Rosaviakosmos press conference on Friday that the first space tourist, billionaire Dennis Tito, would travel to the International Space Station on April, 28th. The launch will take place at the Baikonur cosmodrome at 11.37 local time. The expedition will be commanded by Talgat Musabayev, while Yury Baturin will be the on board engineer. The crew aims to replace the Soyuz-TM ship at the station. It has served as the rescue pod for the crew in case of emergency. Having attached the new ship in which they arrived, the crew will return in an older model of the same vessel specification, which docked with the station last November and is reaching the end of its technical resources. It was stated at the conference that the decision to send Tito into space had been taken "unilaterally" and that the Rosaviakosmos leadership intended to inform head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Daniel Goldin on Friday night. It is thought that Tito will spend his time in space in the Russian Zvezda (Star) module and that communications will be maintained through translators at Russian mission control.
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