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Decision Paper on Rosaviakosmos request of exemption to fly Mr. Dennis Tito

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) Meeting of April 24, 2001

Decision Paper on Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos)request for MCB approval of exemption to fly Mr. Dennis Tito aboard the April 2001 Soyuz 2 taxi flight to the International Space Station (ISS)

Background: Since January 2001, a series of meetings have occurred with Rosaviakosmos and the other ISS partners (European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology/National Space Development Agency of Japan, Rosaviakosmos, NASA), regarding the flight of a nonprofessional cosmonaut to the ISS during the April 2001, Soyuz 2 taxi flight. The ISS partners from Europe, Canada, Japan, and the U. S. identified concerns with the Rosaviakosmos proposal on three specific areas that could impact the safety of the crew and the ISS:

  1. the proposed nonprofessional crewmember had not completed the training required under the draft ISS Multilateral Crew Operations Panel (MCOP)guidelines;
  2. the intensity of on orbit operations during the period of the proposed flight made it an inappropriate time for a nonprofessional cosmonaut to be onboard the ISS; and,
  3. the appropriate legal and administrative steps had not been adequately addressed.

The ISS partnership decision mechanisms provided for in the ISS Intergovernmental Agreement, related Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), and implementing arrangements, have been followed in an effort to resolve this matter.

On April 20, 2001, Rosaviakosmos requested that the MCB approve an exemption to fly Mr. Dennis Tito aboard the April 2001 Soyuz 2 taxi flight to the ISS. In accordance with ISS agreements and processes, the MCB Chairman referred the Rosaviakosmos request to the ISS MCOP for consideration and a recommendation.

The MCB members met on April 23 and 24, 2001, discussed the Rosaviakosmos request for an exemption and reviewed the MCOP recommendations. After thorough discussion among all MCB members and the positive resolution of the MCOP recommendations, the MCB has unanimously decided to grant the exemption given the following:

The ISS MCOP will finalize crew criteria for the selection, training, assignment, and certification of all categories of crew, including all passengers such as non-professional civilian crew and submission to the MCB for approval no later than June 2001. Although Mr. Tito has been trained and certified for flight on Russian provided elements, Mr. Tito has not been trained on other integrated ISS elements. To address this lack of training, Rosaviakosmos and Mr. Tito have agreed to a number of specific steps to mitigate risks as addressed in flight rules, ISS crew code of conduct, liability and indemnification, increased on-board safety training, and limited access to non-Russian elements. It is understood that Mr. Tito will contribute to the formation of positive public opinion about the ISS program and the ISS partnership.

NASA has also identified risk-mitigating actions that have been endorsed by the Stafford Task Force including modification of the Expedition 2 crew's timeline during the Soyuz 2 crew's visit to include only those activities required for:health and safety of the crew and vehicle; nominal maintenance and operational activities to ensure the continued effective operation of the ISS; and minimal ongoing ISS payload support.

The MCB's view is that these measures will reduce some of the added risk of Mr. Tito's flight in case a contingency occurs on the U. S. element.

In summary, the ISS partnership grants the exemption to fly Mr. Tito aboard the April Soyuz 2 taxi flight given:

  1. clarification and adoption of the MCOP crew certification process;
  2. mitigation of safety concerns related to shortfalls in Mr. Tito's training by actions which limited Mr. Tito's activities; and,
  3. completion of necessary legal and administrative steps to ensure adequate measures are in place for the entire ISS partnership.
This MCB decision reflects an ISS partnership consensus agreement on granting the exemption for Mr. Tito to fly to the ISS aboard the April Soyuz taxi flight while maintaining the overall objective of promoting the safety of the crew and the ISS.

original signed by

W. Michael Hawes, ISS MCB Chairman, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Savinder Sachdev Acting Director General, Space Systems Canadian Space Agency

Jörg Feustel-Büechl Director, Manned Flight Programme European Space Agency

Mikhail Sinelschikov Piloted Space Program Directorate Russian Aviation and Space Agency

Tsutomu Imamura Director-General, Research &Development Bureau Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science &Technology

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