Actor and former member of the world-famous NSYNC boy band Lance Bass confessed about his terrible experience of training in Russia before a space flight to the ISS in an interview with Ars Technica. The singer told how Russian officials at gunpoint demanded that he urgently pay USD 20 million to travel into space aboard the Soyuz spacecraft in 2002.
The 23-year–old singer was trying to fulfill his cherished dream – to fly into space. And not just to fly, but to spend ten days on board the International Space Station together with two Russian cosmonauts. Until mid–2002, only two wealthy businessmen – Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth – made private trips to space.
To realize his plan, Bass had to endure several months of hard training in the famous “Star City”, including Russian language lessons and many complex procedures that all astronauts undergo. The singer even went to surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat, preparing for a space accident. The international superstar was ready to go to all the tedious training for the sake of space.
“Where’s the money?”
But getting a place in a spacecraft turned out to be a huge challenge, not only physically, but also morally, because the famous singer was not ready for outright bullying. Since Bass couldn’t finance the expensive trip on his own, he worked with Hollywood directors. While Bass was training, the production team in Hollywood was trying to raise about USD 20 million for him to pay for the trip, otherwise the whole idea was in vain.
“Trying to find money, we had a lot of problems with both Hollywood and the Russians. There were even a few days when I was kicked out of the training base in Russia. They even put a gun to my head and shouted: “Where’s the money? Where is the money?” – admitted Bass during an interview with Ars.
Attempt to make a cherished dream come true
After the final breakdown of the financing negotiations, Bass was told that he would not fly into space, despite the fact that he had been obsessed with this idea since early childhood. The call came a few days before he was due to fly to the Baikonur cosmodrome for final preparations.
But Lance Bass didn’t give up on his dream and joined the board of governors of the National Space Society. He dreams of spending the present time in orbit, conducting research, and not using suborbital flights from Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin, which he considers just a “fun roller coaster”. So, if one day there is an astronaut’s free place to work in low Earth orbit, Bass says that he is ready to leave without delay.
Earlier, we talked about the revelation of a NASA astronaut who said that Russian cosmonauts were being “brainwashed”.
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