By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 31, 2002 01:00 AM

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow Friday morning, ‘N Sync ‘s deep-voiced vocalist Lance Bass, 23, insisted that Russian doctors have given him a preliminary okay to board a Russian rocket this October as the first pop star and the youngest person ever to play astronaut, reports Reuters. “I’m pretty confident we will be able to pull this off. I know physically I can do this,” he said, adding with his fingers crossed, “We’ll have a deal in place within two weeks.” The announcement capped a week of speculation over Bass’s really making the trip. Wednesday morning it had been reported that he was all set to go, but by Wednesday afternoon, reported the Associated Press, the Russians were saying nyet so fast. “The Russian Aerospace Agency has had no contacts whatsoever with Mr. Bass,” agency spokesman Konstantin Kreidenko told the news service. “We have received no requests from either him or his representatives, not to speak about signing any contracts.” Through David Krieff, a producer seeking financial backing for Bass’s purported trip (which carries a $20 million fee), it was said that Bass recently underwent an unexplained surgical procedure to correct an unexplained heart irregularity but had been informally pronounced physically fit enough to make the journey. Krieff went on to say that Bass was due to commence a nearly six-month flight training program at the cosmonaut center in Russia’s Star City. “In order to get a place in the schedule of preparations for the flight,” Russian Space Agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov was quoted as saying Friday by Russia’s Interfax news agency, “Lance Bass must take energetic measures to take forward negotiations with Rosaviakosmos and provide the necessary legal documents.”