26 September 2008
News - Tourism (Ugly)
Lawsuits in Space
Daisuke Enomoto sues Space Adventures for refund
by G B Leatherwood
According to an article in Wired.com, Daisuke Enomoto has filed a lawsuit against Space Adventures.

Japanese Internet tycoon Enomoto, 37, had paid an $8 million dollar down payment, completed the training in Russia and was ready to fly to the International Space Station ( ISS). Enomoto claimed that he was bumped off the flight in favor of businesswoman and entrepreneur, Anousheh Ansari, who was enrolled at the same time in the program brokered by Space Adventures.

After paying $21 million over the course of two years, he now wants his money back.

Enomoto, who suffers from kidney stones, had been medically cleared for the flight, but a second medical examination revealed larger and more numerous kidney stones than before.

The lawsuit claims that Enomoto never received documentation showing that his kidney stones would have prevented his sojourn. It also claims Ansari was given his seat because she had made a “separate investment” in Space Adventures. (Ansari is also the financial backer of the Ansari X-Prize for the first privately developed craft to reach the edge of space.)

In addition to the basic fee, Enomoto also claims that he had agreed to pay an additional $10 million to take a spacewalk, or Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), but Space Adventures denies receiving the necessary approvals from the Russian Federal Space Agency, NASA, and the 15 ISS partners.

Space Adventures lawyers say in their response to the suit that the removal of Enomoto from the flight was strictly a medical issue, that he knew of the possibility of both not making the flight and not having his money refunded. Space Adventures only gives refunds if the flight does not take place.

Just goes to show that space travel is still a high-stakes game with big risks, in more ways than just getting to orbit.
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G B Leatherwood 26 September 2008
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