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    Space tourist Gregory Olsen may fly in fall 2005

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    MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - Would-be space tourist Number Three Gregory Olsen of the United States may make a flight to the International Space Station in 2005, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

    "Roskosmos and the Space Adventures company are optimistic and think that Gregory Olsen may fly to the ISS already this fall," he said.

    Olsen has already undergone astronaut training at the Star City near Moscow, the spokesman said.

    "Space Adventures officially introduced Olsen as a candidate for a brief orbital flight. On May 16 he resumed preparation at the Cosmonaut Training Center," the agency said.

    For several weeks in 2004, Olsen was having a medical examination in Russia. Then, it was found that his health was not good enough for further space flight training, the agency said.

    "Since then his health has much improved. Recent re-examination has given Olsen the green light for resuming training for a flight to the ISS," the Roskosmos spokesman said.

    Olsen is very optimistic and dedicated to his upcoming orbital mission, said in turn Eric Anderson, president of Space Adventures. Greg Olsen is in an excellent medical and functional condition and has already resumed astronaut training, he added.

    On Friday, May 27, answering a RIA Novosti question Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov doubted that Olsen's flight to the ISS might take place in October.

    "There are some reasons, such as continuous delays with American shuttle launches," Perminov said.

    Back in April, American millionaire Olsen, 59, was to fly to the ISS in a Russian Soyuz in the company of two cosmonauts for a regular shift of the station's live-in crew. Following the February 23, 2003 accident with the American shuttle Columbia, the ISS crews are shifted twice a year with the help of Russian Soyuz spaceships.

    The space tourist Number One to visit the ISS was American Dennis Tito of Italian descent. He performed a week-long flight in 2001 for $20 million. Number Two was South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth, who paid the same sum to fly to the ISS in 2002.

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