Lance Bass has taken one small step for boy bands, and one large step toward fulfilling his dream to be the first entertainer in space.
Taking a break from 'NSYNC's Celebrity tour, Bass is in Moscow this weekend to undergo a few medical tests to see if he can qualify for a November mission aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station (see " 'NSYNC's Lance Bass Plans To Leave Earth").
"The cosmonaut tests entail a lot," said Destiny Productions President David Krieff when he called from Moscow Friday (March 22). Krieff accompanied Bass on the trip to film the experience for a possible television special. "It's everything you can imagine and more ... centrifugal force, zero gravity, bloodwork, a full physical exam."
Krieff, who said that Bass "is doing great and kicking butt," estimated that the singer will only be able to complete three-fourths of the required tests on this trip and will have to return to Moscow at the end of April to complete the examination. "The remaining tests are going to be more probing," he said, "more in the mental acuity realm."
Though Bass has yet to book a seat on November's mission or to talk to the Russian Space Agency about getting on the candidate list, he's undergoing the tests at the same medical facility where other Americans on Russian missions, including first-civilian-in-space Dennis Tito, had theirs. The cost of the tests was underwritten by Radio Shack, the first corporate sponsor to sign on to the endeavor.
"By working with Lance to support his quest for space travel, we are reconfirming our commitment to space exploration and the exciting innovations it can offer," Jim McDonald, Radio Shack's senior vice president of marketing and advertising, said in a statement. "We commend Lance for his pioneering spirit and willingness to journey into space."
Bass will need a number of corporate sponsors to fund his trip, since the usual asking price for a civilian to embark on a space flight is about $20 million.
Bass' next step, if he passes his qualifying medical exams, will be to arrange and undergo five to six months of training at Star City near Moscow, which he'd like to start in early May. ('NSYNC are slated to complete their tour April 28 in Orlando.)
Star City is where South African Mark Shuttleworth is currently training. He'll be the second civilian to go into space, with his trek to the ISS booked for April 20.
Bass' current trip should have no bearing on 'NSYNC's current tour dates. A spokesperson for Jive Records confirmed that the group's show Monday in Denver is still a go.