Space Frontier Foundation Congratulates NASA And ISS Partners on Historic Tito Flight Agreement

Group Calls for Setting of Visitor Standards



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Space Frontier Foundation

    LOS ANGELES, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Space Frontier Foundation
 praised NASA and its International Space Station partners today for permitting
 U.S. citizen Dennis Tito to board Space Station Alpha as a Citizen Explorer,
 when he arrives there by Russian Soyuz rocket next month.
     Calling NASA's agreement with the Russians "historic," the Foundation
 urged the ISS partners to use it as a basis for setting permanent standards
 for others to visit the station.  Foundation President Rick Tumlinson
 explained, "there is now no reason a slow but steady stream of visitors
 shouldn't follow him over the next few years, as the station is completed."
     Tito, who paid $20 million to fly to the Russian commercial station Mir,
 lost that flight when Russia de-orbited Mir in February.  To honor Tito's
 contract with the Russians, Energia, the firm operating Russian elements of
 the International Space Station, is flying him on a spare seat aboard a Soyuz
 "taxi" flight to Alpha.  After recent negotiations with the Russians, NASA
 permitted Tito to board the ISS as the first non-astronaut visitor.  The
 Foundation supports this effort and believes Alpha partners should be able to
 engage in a wide variety of commercial activities, including private citizen
 visits.
     "As far as we are concerned," stated Tumlinson, "whatever agreements were
 reached and signed by the parties in this case set a legal minimum for
 visitors."  He continued, "by letting him fly, they are admitting space is
 safe enough for 'normal folks' as long as strict training, safety and
 insurance standards are met."
     "I am sure many in government want this to be a one-shot affair, but that
 would be naive and very short-sighted," said Tumlinson.  "They have a huge
 opportunity before them.  This is not about Mr. Tito, but about the
 relationship between the space agencies and the people who fund them."  He
 concluded: "Now begins the next step -- nurturing public space travel by
 clearing the way for those who want to follow him through the airlock."
     For more information on the Foundation, call 1-(800) 78-SPACE.  Visit our
 website, www.Space-Frontier.org.  Our e-mail address is:
 information@space-frontier.org.
 
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SOURCE Space Frontier Foundation
    LOS ANGELES, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Space Frontier Foundation
 praised NASA and its International Space Station partners today for permitting
 U.S. citizen Dennis Tito to board Space Station Alpha as a Citizen Explorer,
 when he arrives there by Russian Soyuz rocket next month.
     Calling NASA's agreement with the Russians "historic," the Foundation
 urged the ISS partners to use it as a basis for setting permanent standards
 for others to visit the station.  Foundation President Rick Tumlinson
 explained, "there is now no reason a slow but steady stream of visitors
 shouldn't follow him over the next few years, as the station is completed."
     Tito, who paid $20 million to fly to the Russian commercial station Mir,
 lost that flight when Russia de-orbited Mir in February.  To honor Tito's
 contract with the Russians, Energia, the firm operating Russian elements of
 the International Space Station, is flying him on a spare seat aboard a Soyuz
 "taxi" flight to Alpha.  After recent negotiations with the Russians, NASA
 permitted Tito to board the ISS as the first non-astronaut visitor.  The
 Foundation supports this effort and believes Alpha partners should be able to
 engage in a wide variety of commercial activities, including private citizen
 visits.
     "As far as we are concerned," stated Tumlinson, "whatever agreements were
 reached and signed by the parties in this case set a legal minimum for
 visitors."  He continued, "by letting him fly, they are admitting space is
 safe enough for 'normal folks' as long as strict training, safety and
 insurance standards are met."
     "I am sure many in government want this to be a one-shot affair, but that
 would be naive and very short-sighted," said Tumlinson.  "They have a huge
 opportunity before them.  This is not about Mr. Tito, but about the
 relationship between the space agencies and the people who fund them."  He
 concluded: "Now begins the next step -- nurturing public space travel by
 clearing the way for those who want to follow him through the airlock."
     For more information on the Foundation, call 1-(800) 78-SPACE.  Visit our
 website, www.Space-Frontier.org.  Our e-mail address is:
 information@space-frontier.org.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X26243277
 
 SOURCE  Space Frontier Foundation