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Glenn: Only Researchers Should Go Into Space.

ORONO, Maine — Former astronaut and retired Ohio Sen. John Glenn says “the time for space tourism should still be off in the future.”

Glenn was asked Tuesday during a visit to the University of Maine to comment about California millionaire Dennis Tito’s trip to the international space station in return for a reported payment of $20 million.

“Thank heaven I didn’t have to pay that,” Glenn said to laughter from the audience at the Maine Center for the Arts.

Joking aside, Glenn said he believes only researchers should go into space.

Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. In 1998, at age 77, he become the oldest space traveler in history during a flight aboard space shuttle Discovery. The Democrat retired that year from the U.S. Senate.

In the meantime, the Soyuz 2 crew successfully undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) last Saturday night U.S. time, and landed safely on the Central steppes of Kazakhstan Sunday morning to complete its mission to deliver a fresh Soyuz return capsule to the Expedition Two crew.

The Soyuz capsule, which first brought the Expedition One crew to the ISS last November, undocked from the aft docking port of the Zvezda Service Module at 9:21 p.m. Central time as the ISS flew over Eastern Russia.

About two and a half hours later at 11:47 p.m. Central time, the Soyuz’ engines were fired for a little over four minutes in the deorbit maneuver to enable the capsule to drop out of orbit for its descent back to Earth.

Russian flight controllers confirmed that the landing of the Soyuz 2 crew occurred at 12:42 a.m. Central time Sunday morning.

With its new Soyuz vehicle safely docked to the nadir port of the Zarya module, the Expedition Two crew will take a day and a half off on Sunday and Monday before resuming its activities Monday afternoon.

The International Space Station continues to orbit the Earth in good shape at an altitude of 245 statute miles (395 km). The next ISS Status Report will be issued Wednesday, or earlier, if developments warrant.

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