Anousheh Ansari Looks to be Next Space Tourist

Russianspace engineers are re-fitting the Soyuz-TMA crew craft to accommodate U.S. businesswoman Anousheh Ansari who has replaced an ailing Japanese businessman to flyto the International Space Station for a ten-day stint as a tourist, seniorRussian officials said.

"Awoman's organism is different, that's why we need to modify some of the lifesystems in the capsule," Nikolai Sevastyanov, president and generaldesigner of Rocket Space Corporation Energiya, Korolev, Russia, told Russiannews agency ITAR-TASS Thursday.

Theengineers at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Baikonur are to change the specialshock-absorbing seat liner on the seat which had been previously assigned to Japanesebusinessman Daisuke "Dice-K " Enomoto until Russian space doctors ruled earlierthis month that he was unfit to fly to the ISS on Sept. 14.

Enomoto wasto have flown to ISS with U.S. commander Miguel Lopez-Alegria and Russianflight engineer Mikhail Tyurin. Ansari was a member of the back-up crew and theobvious replacement for Enomoto, according to Igor Panarin, spokesman for Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos).

The seatline measured and made to fit Ansari is not the only item that the engineers willhave to install to accommodate the world's female space tourist, according toSergei Pozdnyakov, deputy director general of Zvezda Company in Tomilno, Russia.

Zvezda hasmanufactured seats, suits and other personal equipment for every single ofSoviet cosmonauts, including Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova who was thefirst woman to fly to space. Ansari as any other female member of a Soyuz-TMAcrew requires a different bowl for disembowelment, Pozdnyakov. "Thisequipment is fit for answering both kinds of calls of the nature,"Pozdnyakov told in an interview on Thursday.

Among otheritems, which have been custom-made for Ansari at Zvezda, is a wardrobe ofspecial 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.

SinceAnsari was on the back-up crew, her customized suits and other items werealready shipped to Baikonur and it would take a day or two to replace Enomoto'sstuff with hers inside the Soyuz-TMA craft, Pozdnyakov said. "It is astandard procedure which should not take too long and they might be alreadydone by now," the official said.

In additionto Zvezda's line of customized products, Ansari would also enjoy the itemsmanufactured for her at the Institute of Medical and Biological Research (IMBP)in Moscow. IMBP, which plays a lead role in monitoring health and feeding crewsand conducting biological experiments on board of the Russian segment, willsupply 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 anymake-up on board. "I believe she is ready to sacrifice more than that forthe sake of fulfilling of her dream," the unidentified IMBP official toldInterfax when commenting on the cosmetics ban.

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