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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Construction Mogul Ditches Space Bid for Medical Reasons

Sergei Polonsky, the construction mogul and space tourist-hopeful, will not fly to the international space station in October "for medical reasons," his company, Stroimontage, and the Federal Space Agency said Friday.

Neither side would say what the medical reasons were.

Federal Space Agency spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko referred all questions to Polonsky's representatives, but said that "most likely" it was Polonsky and not doctors who made the decision.

"Medical reasons are a private affair," Polonsky's spokeswoman Irina Opimakh said. "We have no other comment."

Polonsky, 32, had passed the necessary medical tests and was expected to sign a contract with the Federal Space Agency on Friday or Monday, Davidenko said.

Polonsky had negotiated for two months about how much he would pay for the right to the third seat in the Soyuz capsule. Polonsky was reportedly offering $8 million, a significant discount off the $20 million paid by the two previous space tourists.

There was speculation that Polonsky had trouble pulling together the full amount in cash, as the Federal Space Agency had demanded up front as a condition. The previous two tourists paid on installment plans.

Davidenko would not confirm the amount of the contract, which he said was confidential, but he said the money issue was not an obstacle.

The space agency and Stroimontage released a statement Friday saying that both sides were "satisfied" with the negotiations. "The contract was agreed and ready to be signed. However, upon the appearance of medical reasons for the candidate the sides decided that completing the flight was senseless," it said.

A final decision on the flight roster will be made around the middle of the week, but the extra seat on the Soyuz will probably go to cosmonaut Yury Shargin, Davidenko said.