Lance Bass is still shooting for the stars.
During an appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live Monday, the 37-year-old 'N Sync singer and host of Logo's Finding Prince Charming announced that he still has every intention of traveling to outer space. "I'm very connected with the space community still, privately and NASA," said Bass, whose initial voyage was canceled 14 years ago. "Yes, I still plan to go. I do."
So, why didn't Bass ever leave Earth? In October 2002, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency formally notified other space agencies that the singer had been booted off the crew for a Soyuz flight to the international space station. The announcement came after six months of financial negotiations stalled. The Russians grounded Bass because his private backers didn't make a significant payment toward the estimated $20 million cost of his training and flight. Despite the setback, he still completed cosmonaut training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
In April 2003, Bass told AP Radio the financing would "come" through soon enough, and he would blast off sooner than later. "I mean, somebody's going to want to do a documentary about it, so we'll see," he explained. "We'll put that all together in the next couple of years."
The money didn't come through, as he'd predicted Bass has remained grounded ever since.
'N Sync unofficially disbanded around that time, leaving Bass at a crossroads. "When 'N Sync ended—and I didn't know it was ending—I didn't know what to do," he told BuzzFeed in a 2014 interview. "I had always been the bass singer of 'N Sync. I didn't know what else I was good at."
Bass—who publicly came out as gay in 2006—said his space training was unlike anything he'd ever imagined. "I was so scared the whole entire time that they would figure out that I was gay," he said of his training at the Russian program. "I was always worried that they were going to figure it out at any moment, and kill me. Just come in the middle of the night and kill me."
"I lived in old communist Russia—I wasn't in Moscow—I was in the 1960s real Russia. So I really got to know them and appreciate their culture, and even then I knew how much they hated gays," he told BuzzFeed. "That was one of the first things I realized, was how much they made fun of it. It scared me how much they talked about it, and how offended they were by gays."
During his medical testing prior to training, Bass realized it would be dangerous to come out. "They had to give me a colonoscopy to test everything. They did it. I was completely awake. It was very barbaric—their medical testing is very barbaric—and I'm sitting there and they're doing the procedure with lots of doctors in the room," he said. "So I have tears coming down my eyes, because it hurt so badly, and they all start laughing. And I asked my translator, 'Why are they laughing?' and they said, 'Well, they know now that you're not gay.' And they were all laughing because my colonoscopy hurt so much, and they were all happy because I wasn't gay."
It'll take some time—and some money—before Bass' dream becomes a reality. He understands that some people may scoff at his goals—Watch What Happens Live's Andy Cohen included. In fact, the host joked Monday, "Sometimes I look up at the stars and I think, "'Is Lance up there?'"
"Well, my clothes and experiments are up on the I.S.S. right now. I just didn't make it," Bass said, later explaining that he "had experiments" to conduct at the space station. "They're all up there—just not me. I was doing studies up there. I was doing blood work and environmental studies at the Delta. I wasn't just going to float around. I was doing some real work up there."
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