MOSCOW - International space station cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko has promised the Russian space agency to cancel his plan to get married while in orbit, an agency spokesman said.
However, Malenchenko's bride, Ekaterina Dmitriev, who lives in Texas, told a Houston television station Tuesday that the Aug. 10 wedding will still take place.
Sergei Gorbunov, a spokesman for Rosaviakosmos, the Russian national aerospace agency, said that Malenchenko's promise came after officials explained that the plan presented an assortment of legal complexities
Malenchenko's intention to marry Dmitriev, an American citizen, while he is still aboard the spaceship caught the agency by surprise when he told an official about it recently, Gorbunov said: "The official nearly fell from his chair when he heard that."
"We haven't barred him from doing that, we simply told him that it was unclear how he could do that from the point of Russian law," Gorbunov told The Associated Press. "He gave it a thought and said that he would wait until October" when the current space station crew is set to return to Earth.
But Dmitriev told News 24 Houston on Tuesday that she had "no clue" why the Russian space agency is saying her husband to be promised to call off the ceremony.
Dmitriev's wedding planner, Joanne Woodward, told The Associated Press Tuesday that the wedding would still take place and that she had spoken with Malenchenko on Monday evening and "he's excited." Malenchenko can call down to Earth on a special Internet phone on the space station.
Under Russian law, Malenchenko, a Russian air force colonel, is considered the holder of state secrets and can marry a foreigner only after getting permission from his superiors, Gorbunov said.
The secrecy rules, which date back from the Soviet times, could theoretically force a person to wait for five or even 10 years to get such permission, he added.
According to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian air force chief Col.-Gen. Vladimir Mikhailov was angered by Malenchenko's plans and said that a "cosmonaut mustn't behave like a movie star."
Malenchenko, who blasted off to the station in late April together with American astronaut Edward Lu, had quietly arranged to have his tail coat and wedding ring flown to him aboard a Progress cargo ship that arrived at the station in June.
Malenchenko and Dmitriev were issued a marriage license last week in the state of Texas, which allows weddings in which one of the parties is not present.
Dmitriev left Russia for the United States with her parents when she was 3 and lives in Houston. The two met at a social gathering five years ago and began dating in 2002.