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Comments by Rep. James Sensenbrenner with Regard to Dennis Tito's Trip to the ISS

Press Release From: U.S. House of Representatives
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2001

MILLIONAIRE'S TRIP TO SPACE STATION IS LATEST EXAMPLE OF RUSSIANS TAKING NASA'S MANAGEMENT TO CLEANERS -- (House of Representatives - April 24, 2001)

(Mr. SENSENBRENNER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today disappointed by the news that NASA has again acquiesced to inappropriate Russian demands to the Space Station program. Russia will be sending Dennis Tito, a 60-year-old American millionaire, as one of its contributions to this week's mission to the Space Station.

What unique characteristics does Mr. Tito possess that earned his place on this mission? Cold hard cash. $20 million of it from Mr. Tito to the Russians is all it took for a rocket-powered trip to the Space Station. Unfortunately, this partnership based on a core scientific mission apparently is now the next Club Med for those able to pony up millions of dollars to the Russian Government.

So how is it that the Russians, whose Station nonperformance cost the U.S. taxpayers at least 2 years' delay and over $5 billion in cost overruns, can brazenly increase the safety risk of the entire mission? They can because NASA's management did not provide the necessary safeguards earlier in this so-called partnership. NASA's forced acquiescence to Russia regarding Mr. Tito is just the latest example of the Russians taking NASA's management to the cleaners.

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