September 23, 2002 01:00 PM

You can’t keep a good man down — or even Lance Bass.

Despite being dismissed by the Russian Space Agency and NASA on Sept. 3 after failing to come up with the necessary $20 million to join an Oct. 28 space mission, the wannabe astronaut member of ‘N Sync was reportedly back at the Star City training center outside of Moscow as of Monday.

Yuri Nikiforov, general director of Atlas Airspace, confirmed Bass’ presence to the Associated Press over this past weekend: “He will not go in October for sure, but he just doesn’t want to interrupt the (training) program.”

Bass, 23, had begun his space preparations in July with the hope that corporate sponsors, interested in financing a TV documentary on his voyage, would cough up the necessary cash. But he ended up getting tossed when the Russians demanded payment and, it appeared, all they were getting were further promises.

Last week, says AP, Russian space agency spokesman Sergei Gorbunov acknowledged that Bass might return, but stressed that if he did he would not be training for the October flight or any other space mission.

Bass would have been the youngest person ever in space and would have been the third paying tourist, following in the weightless footsteps of California businessman Dennis Tito and South African Internet tycoon Mark Shuttleworth.

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