SEPTIEMBRE COU 2002 - 2003 TEXT - 63
Many people grow up wanting to be astronauts, but only a select few ever venture into outer space. They must excel academically, demonstrating the mathematical and scientific expertise needed to understand complex aeronautical, mechanical and astronomical principles. They also must be physically fit and able to survive the rigors of space travel. And they must have the good fortune to be picked from a group of similarly qualified, ambitious people. Or they must have $20 million.
NASA* tried to block the voyage of Dennis Tito, 60, to the International Space Station. But the United States, the leading partner in the 16-nation group building the Alpha station, found itself without many options and with the Russian Space Agency in control of its passenger list. Tito paid $20 million to travel on Moscow’s Soyuz rocket ship. The California financier trained almost a year with Russian cosmonauts and went into space. NASA had Tito sign a legal document, pledging neither he nor his heirs would take legal action against the U.S. space agency if anything went wrong in space.
The mission made Dennis Tito the first “space tourist” – a person who pays to fly into space. Russia has expressed interest in routinely selling one of the three seats to adventurous travelers for much-needed funds. NASA has seen its budget cut in 6 of the last 8 years. But the situation is worse in Moscow, where cash shortages recently delayed the end of the Mir space station.
*NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. space agency.
1. In your own words and based on the ideas in the text, answer the following
questions. Be careful with the grammar. (2 points)
Who is Dennis Tito?
Why is Russia interested in space tourism?
2. Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Copy the evidence from the
text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE. (2 points)
One has to be healthy and strong to be an astronaut.
NASA did not impose any conditions on the first space tourist.
3. Find the words or Phrases in the text that mean: (1 point)
luck (paragraph 1)
prevent (paragraph 2)
nearly (paragraph 2)
postponed (paragraph 3)
4. Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the word in
brackets when given. (2 points)
Last month Moscow ___________ (agree) to let Dennis Tito fly to Alpha without first _______________ (consult) NASA or the other partners in the space station.
The International Space Station is a free-floating spacecraft ________ orbits the Earth about 240 miles from its surface and is being built ________ 16 countries.
Space travel is _________ expensive that __________ rich people can afford it.
Write a comparative sentence using the adjective “bad”.
“The flight was ___________________ I had thought.”
5. Write about 60 to 100 words on ONE of the following topics. Do not copy
from the text. (3 points)
Do you think people should be able to buy “tickets” to go into space? Consider questions related to safety, training and money.
What do you think about the space exploration program? Is it worth spending so much money on these space programs?