2 October 2002
Media - Tourism (None)
Lance Bass Not to Fly This Year
Training Continues While Project Seeks Funds
by Patrick Collins
Sadly, Lance Bass will not fly on the upcoming Soyuz “taxi flight,” as reported earlier. However, he is continuing his training, so the possibility remains open that he could fly next year. Bass has been tethered by a lack of necessary funding; his backers could not provide the $20 million in time.

Bass's investors had to be convinced that they were going to recoup their millions plus make a profit stemming from TV programme sponsorships, increased sales of music, and various other media activities based on his space-related marketability. However, this all depends crucially on his flight itself getting extensive TV coverage and high ratings.

Unfortunately, these possibilities are limited not only by such constraints as the orbital mechanics limiting when he can make live broadcasts, which are mainly not at peak US viewing times. There is also the problem that a war in the Middle East would be sure to drive down the ratings of television programmes – as for example, Richard Branson’s record breaking first balloon-crossing of the Pacific ocean in 1991 was kept right off the front pages by the Gulf War.

It was also said that Bass was not planning to do any recording in space, which for many people would have been the main point of the trip.

There are plenty of musicians wealthy enough -- to the tune of tens or hundreds of millions -- to pay for such a flight themselves. However, they tend to be older, when they naturally become less interested in adventure. David Bowie, for instance, recently stated that he has no interest in such a flight, despite some of his earlier songs having strong connections with space.

So that leaves the historic opportunity to be the first ever musician in space still open. We much look forward to hearing whoever it is and to being carried away by a genuinely new genre of music.
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Patrick Collins 2 October 2002
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