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07:40 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Iranian-born American approved to replace Japanese space tourist

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MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Federal Space Agency has decided to send a U.S. woman of Iranian descent into space, instead of a Japanese space tourist who failed a medical test, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.

Japan's Daisuke Enomoto had been due to blast off for the International Space Station on September 14, but the Main Medical Commission decided that he was medically unfit to fly to space.

Tehran-born Anousheh Ansari, who turns 40 next year, will become the first female space tourist.

"The decision has been made by the Board of Chief Designers. It will be formalized next week," Igor Panarin said.

Three other tourists have flown to the ISS for a reported $20 million each. The first was U.S. businessman Dennis Tito, who was followed by South African Mark Shuttleworth and American Greg Olsen.