Nyet, Nyet, Nyet to 'N Sync-er in Space

09/03/2002 at 01:00 PM EDT

The on-again, off-again, on-again (well, you get the picture) plans for Lance Bass to join an October space mission is (drum roll) off again, after the 'N Sync singer failed to pay up in time to meet deadlines set by the Russian Space Agency, a spokesman for the agency told Reuters Tuesday.

Bass, 23, who has been prepping for the $20 million, eight-day mission to the International Space Station for months now, would have become the youngest person to go into space.

Instead, according to the agency spokesman, he's been told to pack his bags and leave Russia's Star City cosmonaut training center near Moscow.

"Bass is now at Star City, gathering his stuff and preparing to leave," spokesman Sergei Gorbunov tells Reuters. "We are preparing to send a cargo container to the ISS instead of a third crew member."

The Soyuz taxi mission, due to blast off Oct. 28, will now proceed with Russian commander Sergei Zalyotin and Belgian flight engineer Frank DeWinne, the news service reports.

Meanwhile, Jeff Manbar, president of Mir-Corp, which had been working on behalf of Bass, is not throwing in the towel just yet.

"It is a little dramatic to say he was kicked out," Manbar tells the Associated Press. He went on to say that he was due to speak yet again to Russian space officials regarding payment.

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