A Soviet official said Wednesday a contract has been signed to allow an American to travel to the Mir space station, despite a report by the official Soviet news agency that a sweepstakes offering the trip was a hoax.

"The Soviet side agreed to it. We signed a letter of intent on Nov. 22," said Vladimir Mikitsky, the deputy director of foreign relations of NPO Energia, which negotiates commercial deals for the Soviet space program.The contest operators - who had pronounced the Tass news report that the sweepstakes was a "cosmic canard," a misunderstanding - were called to appear Wednesday before a grand jury.

The district attorney's office Tuesday subpoenaed three executives of Space Travel Services to answer questions on whether the promotion, which contestants can enter by dialing a 900-number for $2.99, violates Texas lottery laws.

Texas law bars charging people for a chance to win something.

Space Travel insisted it has a contract with the Soviets.