NASA managers will present the status of crew training at
the Johnson Space Center for a scheduled April Soyuz taxi flight
to the International Space Station at a press briefing tomorrow

NASA today met with four cosmonauts and a European Space Agency
astronaut who will serve as the prime and backup crews for the
scheduled Soyuz taxi flight to the International Space Station.
Dennis Tito, an American businessman who has entered into a
contract with the Russians to fly on this taxi flight, was also

During an initial meeting this morning at NASA’s Johnson Space
Center, Houston, TX, mission managers discussed the Soyuz crews’
schedule for the week. NASA also planned to meet with Tito to
discuss administrative and legal arrangements as well as future
training that would be necessary in order for him to fly to the
orbiting station.

Last week, following a meeting of the space station partnership
in Moscow, NASA and other international partners from Canada,
Europe and Japan, informed the Russian Aviation and Space Agency
they recommended against Tito’s flight to the space station in
April due to the intense period of operations that will occur
during the next several months. During this period, the presence
of a non-professional crewmember who is untrained on all
critical station systems, is unable to respond and assist in any
contingency situation which may arise, and who would require
constant supervision, would add a significant burden to the
Expedition and detract from the overall safety of the
International Space Station.

NASA fully supports the commercialization of the International
Space Station, provided that the safety and operational
integrity of the vehicle and crew are maintained at all times.
To that end, NASA and the other international partners are in
the process of establishing criteria for selection, training and
certification of non-professional station crewmembers on the
International Space Station on a commercial basis. However,
based on incomplete crew criteria and unresolved operational and
legal considerations, there is not enough time to prepare Tito
for a safe Soyuz flight to the station in April.

The Russian Soyuz commander objected to Tito not being included
in crew training and elected not to participate in today’s
sessions. NASA and the other space station partners are
continuing a dialogue with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency
on this matter.

Tuesday’s press briefing will originate from the James E. Webb
Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. EST at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street,
SW, Washington, DC, and will be carried live on NASA Television
with two-way question and answer capability for reporters
covering the event from participating NASA centers.

NASA TV is broadcast on GE2, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at
85 degrees West longitude. The frequency is 3880 MHz.
Polarization is vertical and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz.