Astronaut Too Tall for Mir Visit

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A NASA astronaut who was supposed to spend four months aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1997 has been yanked from training because he’s too tall.

The 6-foot-2 Scott Parazynski is just over the Russian space agency’s height requirement for the cramped Soyuz capsules that ferry cosmonauts to and from Mir.

Although Parazynski, a 34-year-old physician, was supposed to fly to and from the Mir station on NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis, Russian space officials worried how he would fit into a Soyuz capsule in case of an emergency. A Soyuz capsule is always docked with Mir and provides the only way back to Earth if something goes wrong in orbit.

Frank Culbertson, NASA’s acting director of the shuttle-Mir program, said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration knew of the height requirement when it sent Parazynski to Russia four months ago but had hoped the Russians would modify a Soyuz for him.