Space chiefs in Florida have been forced to deny that they conspire with the state's hoteliers and tourism trade to fleece unwary space nuts.
It was claimed yesterday that the North American Space Administration (NASA) deliberately changes Shuttle launch dates after all the local hotel rooms have been booked so tourists have to find other forms of entertainment.
Florida's tourism trade then gets a second bite of the cherry when the new date is announced.
One such tourist who fell foul of the alleged scheme was Bernard Thud of Ealing, west London.
He explained: "Back in July we saw that the next shuttle launch was due on September 15. So me and the missus thought we'd like to see it. We booked our flights and hotel and everything. That wasn't easy because all the rooms in places like Cocoa Beach were booked up and we eventually got a room 50 miles from Kennedy Space Center at Daytona Beach.
"A couple of weeks ago I looked on the NASA web site and the buggers had moved the launch date to November 1!
"Well, that's no good to me - our Maureen's mum's birthday is coming up round about then.
"If you ask me it's a scam to fleece unsuspecting tourists. We've now got to find something else to do while we're there. I reckon NASA gets a kick-back from all the other tourism traders out there."
We challenged NASA with Mr Thud's allegations. A spokesman said: "You're kidding, right?"
Asked if NASA would relent and move the launch date back to September 15, he added: "Sorry? Where are you from again? this is a joke, right?"