Filmmaker James Cameron, whose epic love story "Titanic" won him the Best Director Oscar in 1997, is now vying for a titanic trip to the International Space Station, the daily USA Today reported, citing a Russian space official.
If the trip goes forward, Cameron would follow in the footsteps of US millionaire Dennis Tito, who is set to become the world's first space tourist on Saturday when he blasts off for the space station from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.
But if Cameron is permitted to conduct a spacewalk, he too would reserve a special place for himself in space history, becoming the first layperson to perform such a feat.
Factoring into Cameron's interest in the trip are plans to film a documentary series, a 3-D IMAX movie, and shows for Fox television, according to the daily.
No one at Cameron's Santa Monica, California-based LightStorm Entertainment could be reached for comment Friday.
The Russian official told USA Today on condition of anonymity that the Canadian-born Cameron, 46, would sign a deal for the trip in two or three weeks.
The official added that Cameron, who also directed the science-fiction film "Aliens," would probably reach outer space by 2002.
But NASA wasn't quick to jump to conclusions about the report.
"There is no way he is doing any training with us," NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin told the newspaper.
While he has discussed a possible trip to the ISS with Cameron, Goldin said he was unaware of any negotiations with Russia.
"NASA is not engaged in this," Goldin said. "We have just been through this with Dennis Tito. We are saying no nonprofessionals are going to space until we finalize this protocol and we are notified."
"Whether they agree or not, we can do it by ourselves," the Russian official told the daily. "But NASA participation would be very, very much appreciated. In the sense of this project, it should be international. But we have had no discussions with (NASA)."
The 60-year-old Tito -- a retired space engineer who will be accompanied by Russian cosmonauts Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin on Saturday -- reportedly paid 20 million dollars for the historic trip – Albawaba.com
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