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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Yeltsin Aide to Go to Mir

Russia confirmed Tuesday it would blast its first bureaucrat into orbit, launching a former presidential aide on a weeklong mission to Mir.

"A special commission has confirmed Yury Baturin as a cosmonaut-researcher in the three-men crew to be blasted to Mir in August," Russian Space Agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov said.

Baturin, 49, a lawyer by training, will undertake a seven-day mission with professional cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Avdeyev. The crew launch is scheduled for Aug. 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Baturin, who was President Boris Yeltsin's national security aide and adviser on military reform, formally lost his position Feb. 12, but maintained a government office as of Tuesday.

Gorbunov said Baturin's space flight program consisted of a few technical and medical experiments.

Baturin, who in the 1970s worked for the Energia rocket corporation which designed Mir, recently finished a cosmonaut-training course at Star City outside Moscow.

"He is ready to work aboard the station," Gorbunov said.

Baturin's crewmates will replace Mir's current cosmonauts, Talgat Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin. Baturin will return to Earth with them.

The space agency has never clearly explained why a government official should fly on Mir.

Gorbunov said a one-man space flight for a week cost about $15 million.