HOUSTON — The official Soviet news agency said today that a telephone sweepstakes offering an American a chance to travel to the Soviet space station was a hoax.
Glavkosmos, the Soviet equivalent of NASA, said it did not know anything about the project, Soviet officials told Tass. Vladimir Zenkin, deputy commercial manager at the Energia agency, said there are no deals to allow an American to spend a week on the space station Mir in 1992 or 1993.
Space Travel Services, the American company promoting the offer, offered callers to a 900 number a chance to win six months' training, a trip aboard a Soviet rocket and a week on the space station Mir. Entrants paid $2.99 a call.
Space Travel Services Corp. issued a statement today that said the company had letters from Energia officials confirming the arrangements. Space Travel Services said it had a contract with Space Commerce Corp., which in turn negotiated the contract with Energia.
Thousands of calls Monday, the first day the line was open, overloaded the circuits. The line was working again early today.