Anna Chapman, the glamorous Russian spy, has come out of the shadows to wave off astronauts at a launch pad in Kazakhstan, her first appearance at a public event since she was deported from the US in July.
Ms Chapman, whose good looks and eye-catching lifestyle as a spy in the US turned her into a media sensation, watched a rocket blast off with two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut to the International Space Station.
Appearing briefly in jeans and a short red coat at the launch site in the Kazakh steppe, she refused to answer reporters' questions at a farewell ceremony for Alexander Kaleri, Oleg Skripochka and Scott Kelly. But her reticence could not hide that she is clearly carving out a high-profile role as a celebrity in Russia. She recently announced she was starting her own website, and has posed provocatively for a Russian magazine.
An official with Russia's space agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ms Chapman was at the launch site in Baikonur as an adviser to the president of FondServisBank. The bank works with space industry companies and was handing out awards, the official said.
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