Former U.S. rocket scientist slated to become Mir tourist
(CNN) -- A stock market investment manager and former rocket scientist will become a space tourist aboard Mir, a private company that leases the aging Russian space station announced Friday.
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Dennis Tito, founder of the Santa Monica, California-based Wilshire Associates, agreed to spend millions of dollars on a flight to the station through MirCorp, a Holland-based firm seeking to profit from commercial ventures aboard the space outpost.
Tito, who once plotted rocket trajectories for NASA, is expected to make an official announcement on Monday. The price tag for such a trip is about $20 million, according to MirCorp. RKK Energia company, which built and runs Mir, has a 60 percent stake in MirCorp and the remainder belongs to private investors.
Two cosmonauts returned from Mir on Friday, having spent two months repairing the accident-prone station, which has lasted nearly three times its expected five-year life expectancy.
Another cosmonaut mission to Mir could take place later this year. But Russia also could direct the station into a fatal plunge into the ocean if private investors fail to come up with enough funds to keep it in orbit.
In the past, two private citizens paid millions of dollars each to visit Mir, then under the control of the Soviet government. MirCorp-sponsored tours could take place as early as 2001, the company said.
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Kazakhstan may allow Russian Mir-supply launch Friday
July 13, 1999
NASA Shuttle-Mir Web
Where is Mir?
Office of Space Flight - Mir
Russian Space Industry - Energia Rocket and Space Corp.
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