20 March 2001
News - Other (Ugly)
Cosmonauts Strike Over NASAs Bizarre Dichotomy
by Carol Pinchefsky
Two cosmonauts, in a show of solidarity for fellow crew member Dennis Tito, left a NASA facility because NASA refuses to train the California entrepeneur--claiming his lack of experience as a danger to the International Space Station. In other words, NASA will not train a man who is not trained.

According to a NASA statement, the presense of a civilian passenger could "add a significant burden to the (mission) and detract from the overall safety of the international space station." Christa McCauliffe was a teacher, not a professional astronaut; do they suppose she blew up the Challenger?

Could this refusal to allow a paying customer have anything to do with NASAs antipathy towards space tourism? NASA disagrees. "This is about Dennis Tito, not the greater issue of space tourism," said NASA astronaut and manager Bill Readdy. Why they should object to Dennis Tito is a curiosity; the Russians previously had two other guests aboard Mir, Helen Sharman and Toyohiro Akiyama, without incident. Also, if NASA has no problems with space tourism, then why have they not accepted any other paying customers?

True, an untrained person may pose a danger to sensitive equipment. But NASA is refusing to allow Tito to fly because he's untrained while at the same time withholding the very training crucial to a voyage.

So NASA maintains their dictatorship of space by citing ridiculous logic. Taxpaying citizens of the United States should be amused if we were not so appalled.

See the CNN article for more information.
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Carol Pinchefsky 20 March 2001
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