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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ruissan President Putin Ponders Space Tourism

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke from the Kremlin with International Space Station Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams in a special tribute to Cosmonauts Day, marking Gagarin's pioneering orbit around the Earth on April 12, 1961. During the connection cosmonaut Vinogradov said: "I would like to invite Vladimir [Putin] to visit us. He has been out to sea in a submarine, has learned how to operate strategic aircraft and feels at home in the Su-27 fighter." The Russian president replied: "Maybe during vacation." Putin sounded like a would-be space tourist.

Russia celebrates Cosmonauts Day on April 12 to mark the anniversary of the day in 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space and orbit the Earth on board the Vostok-1 spacecraft.

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