Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Los Angeles Lance Bass' space voyage was at risk Tuesday while Hollywood dealmakers and Russian bureaucrats squabbled over payment for the pop idol's $20 million trip.
"We have a contract, but we don't have any money," Russian Aerospace Agency spokesman Konstantin Kreidenko said.
Bass hopes to be a member of the crew scheduled to travel on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the international space station in October.
But the deadline for the 'N Sync singer to make a payment to secure his spot was Tuesday, according to a Russian space agency official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Kreidenko would not confirm that.
David Krieff, a Los Angeles television producer who plans a series about Bass' trip and is gathering sponsors, blamed the problems on paperwork snags ï¿½ and Russian bureaucrats.
"In my mind it's a lot of talk and posturing. That is their style, and I can appreciate it," Krieff said Tuesday. "This is 100 percent going forward."
Krieff declined to discuss whether a payment was due Tuesday, saying there was a nondisclosure agreement. He singled out space agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov as a vocal critic of Bass' voyage. Gorbunov called such comments "foolish."
Krieff acknowledged there was a delay in transferring funds to Russia and said it was because he had received only an e-mailed copy of the contract. A signed paper version was required to secure insurance, he said.
The 23-year-old would become the youngest person, the third paying tourist and the first pop star in space. He has been training at Russia's Star City cosmonaut center outside Moscow since July. Cameras are recording his progress for the TV show.