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'First singer in space': Countdown begins for Sarah Brightman's 2015 flight

posted Jun 17, 2014, 8:35 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jun 17, 2014, 8:37 AM ]
Published: Tuesday June 17, 2014 MYT 5:35:00 PM By Irene Klotz

British singer Sarah Brightman will begin training this fall to become the first singer to perform in space when she flies out to the International Space Station in September 2015.

Brightman, 53, the famed soprano who rose to international fame as the female lead in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, will pay about US$52mil (RM167.8mil) for a 10-day stay aboard the orbital outpost, Tom Shelley, president of privately-owned Space Adventures, said on June 10.

“She’s absolutely 100% committed,” Shelley said during a National Space Club Florida Committee meeting. “She’s putting together her mission plan now.”

Brightman, who would become the eighth privately funded space tourist, is slated to fly in September 2015. Her training to fly on a Russian Soyuz capsule is scheduled to begin as early as this fall, Shelley said, adding that she planned to be the first professional musician to sing from space.

There has been no news about which songs from her extensive back catalogue she will perform in space but hopefully it will include I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper, her glittery 1978 disco hit with Hot Gossip.

Brightman faces competition from Lady Gaga, who according to media reports late last year intends to be the first when she performs one song in space in early 2015 on a Virgin Galactic flight. Virgin Galactic, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, plans to offer sub-orbital space flights.

Brightman had earlier announced in a press conference in Moscow in October 2012 that she would travel to the space station, but her plans were unconfirmed until now. Her space ambition provided the inspiration for her album Dreamchaser, which was released in Jan 2013.

So far, Space Adventures has arranged for nine private missions to the space station, a US$100bil research laboratory that flies about that flies about 418km above Earth. Microsoft co-founder Charles Simonyi made two trips. Brightman will be the first private citizen to visit the station since Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Lalibarte paid about US$35mil for an 11-day stay in September 2009.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has an option to fly on the next available Soyuz seat after Brightman, which most likely will be in 2017, Shelley told Reuters. “He paid us a deposit and whenever we have a seat available, he has the right of first refusal,” Shelley said. — Reuters