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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Without Bass, Space Program in Pinch

Itar-TassThe nose of a Soyuz module, whose funding is under question, being fitted in April for a mission to the international space station.
U.S. pop star Lance Bass's failure to come up with cash for an October flight to the international space station will probably delay production of the Soyuz-TMA module, a senior Energia official said.

"There will probably be ... a disruption of the schedule" of production for the Soyuz module, which costs $10 million to build and another $55 million to launch, the official said on condition of anonymity. Bass of boy band 'N Sync would have paid about $20 million for the space trip.

The official said Energia, which has already built a module for the Oct. 28 flight, would be hard-pressed to come up with the financing to build another in time for the next scheduled flight, in April.

He said state funds account for only a small part of the money that Energia spends on producing the modules, while the bulk comes from Energia's own profits.

He said he hoped Bass would be able to find cash to resume training and prepare for the April flight.

Energia and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency are currently in negotiations with several individuals and organizations on the possible purchase of a ticket on the 2003 flight, officials said.

Rosaviakosmos spokesman Sergei Gorbunov confirmed that talks were under way but denied news reports that Pepsi is involved in them. Interfax reported that Pepsi planned to spend $35 million to organize a television show and send its winner to the international space station on board a Soyuz craft. "We have not received any proposals from Pepsi," Gorbunov said.

Pepsi was among the U.S. companies that Bass's managers approached to try to secure sponsorship deals, The Washington Post reported.

Pepsi spokesman Alexander Shalnev refused to comment Tuesday.

Bass's failure to pay taught Rosaviakosmos that it is best to deal with those who pay for their trips out of their own pockets, as did South African Mark Shuttleworth in April this year and American Dennis Tito in April last year, Rosaviakosmos spokesman Konstantin Kreydenko said.