Hopeful Space Tourist Tito is Now KG6FZX

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Apr 16, 2001.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    From the ARRL...



    NEWINGTON, CT, April 11, 2001--Wealthy US businessman Dennis Tito, who hopes to be the first space tourist aboard the International Space Station, now is an Amateur Radio operator. Tito, 60, has been in Russia training to go into space. Last week he took and passed the Technician exam.



    A volunteer examination session was set up for Tito in Russia. The FCC issued Tito the call sign KG6FZX today. It's not clear at this point how Tito plans to use Amateur Radio aboard the ISS.



    According to Reuters, Russia has given Tito the go ahead to visit the ISS as part of a three-man team that will blast off April 28 aboard a Soyuz rocket on a 10-day mission. Tito reportedly is paying the cash-strapped Russian space program some $20 million for the privilege of being the first space tourist. Accompanying Tito into space will be Talgat Musabayev as team commander, and Yuri Baturin as onboard engineer. Tito reportedly will handle communications systems during the flight.



    Tito, the founder of a California investment firm, studied aerospace engineering in college and later worked for five years at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. He told a news conference that he's excited about the prospect of going into space and he's looking forward to the experience. Tito had hoped to visit the Russian Mir space station, but those plans had to be scrapped when the Russians decided that it was time to deorbit the aged spacecraft.



    The prospect of Tito's visit aboard the ISS has generated some tension between the US and Russian space agencies. NASA chief Dan Goldin has suggested that Tito's planned visit this month would be a disruption to the Expedition 2 crew during a complex mission. The ISS crew will be involved with installing a Canadian-built robotic arm for moving objects outside the station during and after the ISS assembly phase.



    Goldin likened the prospect of Tito's stay as a visit to a hotel that's still under construction. Russia's space agency director general Yuri Koptev said the mission will go forward. He said Russia does not need permission from its international partners to fly specific individuals to the space station.



    Cosmonauts Musabayev and Baturin reportedly boycotted pre-flight training for one day in the US when Tito--who has undergone months of training--was refused access to preparations for the flight to the ISS.



    The Expedition 2 crew now aboard the ISS includes Russian Commander Yury Usachev, UA9AD, and US astronauts Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and Jim Voss.--from press reports
     
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