Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov may replace singer Sarah Brightman onboard Russia's Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft, which is due to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in September.
"The Russian side has notified us that our cosmonaut may be allowed to fly in September. Sarah Brightman's seat is vacant today. That is why we are considering the possibility of our cosmonaut Aimbetov's flight," Meirbek Moldabekov, deputy chairman of the Kazakh Investment and Development Ministry's aerospace committee (Kazcosmos), told Interfax on May 26.
"This issue is currently being discussed" with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and "the Russian side is ready to consider it and has already told us that such an opportunity exists," he said.
Kazcosmos is "now urgently preparing its scientific research program" and has sent its officials to Moscow to "discuss a potential contract," Moldabelov said.
At their negotiations in May, the Kazakh and Russian presidents, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin, discussed the possibility of a Kazakh cosmonaut's flight to the International Space Station, Moldabekov said.
The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has offered its comments. "Various options are being considered. Negotiations are still underway. When a final decision is adopted, we will announce it," Roscosmos said in a press release.
It was announced on May 13 that British soprano Sarah Brightman called off her trip to the ISS in September 2015 citing family reasons.
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