Will Garriott get bumped? Probably not.

The French news agency AFP reports today that a Russian politician may replace Richard Garriott on an October 2008 Soyuz flight. Just a week ago Space Adventures announced that Garriott, an executive at a computer gaming company and the son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, would be a passenger on that Soyuz taxi flight to the ISS, spending a week on the space station. However, AFP, citing an article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, reports that Garriott may be replaced by Vladimir Gruzdev, a wealthy politician and adventurer. Gruzdev had been reported last month as a likely candidate to be the first Russian space tourist and certainly has the means to pay for the trip himself, although his political party, United Russia, would reportedly pay for the flight as “our budget contribution to the space program”, according to party head Boris Gryzlov. A Roskosmos official told Kommersant that Gruzdev “takes priority” over Garriott and would be on that mission; it’s not clear what would then happen to Garriott (perhaps train as a backup and fly in spring 2009?)

Update: according to a RIA Novosti article published Friday, apparently in reaction to the Kommersant report, Roskosmos head Anatoly Perminov said Gruzdev would not fly before late 2009, not next October. “November 2009 seems a likely date, not the fall of 2008, and I cannot put a final timeline to it since the decision will be influenced by the U.S. and other European Space Agency member countries, Japan, and others,” he told the news service.

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