Russian space engineers are re-fitting the Soyuz-TMA crew craft to accommodate U.S. businesswoman Anousheh Ansari who has replaced an ailing Japanese businessman to fly to the International Space Station for a ten-day stint as a tourist, senior Russian officials said.
"A woman's organism is different, that's why we need to modify some of the life systems in the capsule," Nikolai Sevastyanov, president and general designer of Rocket Space Corporation Energiya, Korolev, Russia, told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS Thursday.
The engineers at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Baikonur are to change the special shock-absorbing seat liner on the seat which had been previously assigned to Japanese businessman Daisuke "Dice-K " Enomoto until Russian space doctors ruled earlier this month that he was unfit to fly to the ISS on Sept. 14.
Enomoto was to have flown to ISS with U.S. commander Miguel Lopez-Alegria and Russian flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin. Ansari was a member of the back-up crew and the obvious replacement for Enomoto, according to Igor Panarin, spokesman for Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos).
The seat line measured and made to fit Ansari is not the only item that the engineers will have to install to accommodate the world's female space tourist, according to Sergei Pozdnyakov, deputy director general of Zvezda Company in Tomilno, Russia.
Zvezda has manufactured seats, suits and other personal equipment for every single of Soviet cosmonauts, including Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova who was the first woman to fly to space. Ansari as any other female member of a Soyuz-TMA crew requires a different bowl for disembowelment, Pozdnyakov. "This equipment is fit for answering both kinds of calls of the nature," Pozdnyakov told Space.com in an interview on Thursday.
Among other items, which have been custom-made for Ansari at Zvezda, is a wardrobe of special suits, including space suit, heat-insulating suit and a special outfit, dubbed Centaur and designed to help to withstand G-force during the landing. Other items include lingerie, working suit, shorts and T-shirts.
Since Ansari was on the back-up crew, her customized suits and other items were already shipped to Baikonur and it would take a day or two to replace Enomoto's stuff with hers inside the Soyuz-TMA craft, Pozdnyakov said. "It is a standard procedure which should not take too long and they might be already done by now," the official said.
In addition to Zvezda's line of customized products, Ansari would also enjoy the items manufactured for her at the Institute of Medical and Biological Research (IMBP) in Moscow. IMBP, which plays a lead role in monitoring health and feeding crews and conducting biological experiments on board of the Russian segment, will supply products of personal female hygiene enough to last for ten days.
However, just like passengers of US-bound flights, Ansari won't be able to carry any make-up on board. "I believe she is ready to sacrifice more than that for the sake of fulfilling of her dream," the unidentified IMBP official told Interfax when commenting on the cosmetics ban.
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