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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boy Band Singer Denied Space Flight

APBass asked Russia to take him to space.
Teen idol Lance Bass, a singer with U.S. boy band 'N Sync, will not become the world's first pop star in space, Russia's space agency said Thursday.

Bass' agents and space exploration company Mircorp had earlier expressed optimism the 22-year-old pop star would sign a $25 million deal for a seat on a Soyuz space taxi due to fly to the international space station in October.

But Rosaviakosmos spokesman Sergei Gorbunov said the Russian agency had begun no such talks on the subject. "It is as if I said I had bought Australia," Gorbunov said, adding there was no agreement between Mircorp and Rosaviakosmos. "Mircorp has no right to sell these flights. They have no link to Rosaviakosmos."

Dutch-based Mircorp was behind initial preparations to send up the world's first space tourist, U.S. millionaire Dennis Tito. But the final deal was brokered by U.S. company Space Adventures.

"We are not a shop selling flights. There is a hard preparation process and it is not just about coming up and buying a flight," Gorbunov said. "And I'm not even talking about the agreements it is necessary to reach with our partners."

Russia's pioneering commercial use of its space program, used to patch up a shrinking budget, has not been greeted with unanimous approval from its ISS partners, NASA.

Tito's flight last May sparked bickering between the Russian space agency and NASA, which feared the inexperienced passenger could endanger the flight.

"[Bass' flight] is just an advertising stunt, I can promise you," Gorbunov said. "This is better advertising than he could ever pay for."

The man heading the race to grab the Soyuz seat and become the third paying guest to visit the ISS -- after Tito and South African Internet magnate Mark Shuttleworth -- is Polish businessman Leszek Czarnecki.

"He is one candidate for the third seat on our October flight," Gorbunov said, adding Czarnecki would shortly be undergoing medical tests near Moscow. "But we still have to present him to our partners, given the flight is to the ISS."

Czarnecki is expected to pay roughly $20 million for the trip, the amount reportedly paid by both Shuttleworth and Tito.