Starting in October, Sarah Brightman, a popular British vocalist, has paid $52 million dollars, along with agreeing to some training to prepare, for the chance to visit the International Space Station (ISS). Her transportation will be a Soyuz rocket. The length of her vacation there will be 10 days, round-trip.
The moment Brightman touches down on the floor of ISS, she will become the eighth individual to ever visit it. Those that have toured ISS before her include, but are not limited to, Charles Simonyi, Anousheh Ansari, and Dennis Tito. Simonyi is the sole one out of Brightman’s seven predecessors to have visited ISS twice. It was 2009 when the last trip to ISS was made.
Due to retiring of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) shuttle program in 2011, all crew transport and delivery of supplies are contracted out to Russia. The spot that made it possible for Brightman to make the flight was because Russia requires the latest Soyuz capsule to transport two of the ISS crew back to Earth. The limiting time a Soyuz rocket can remain in orbit is close to six months. The replacement crew are currently setting up for their year-long mission.
Sergey Volkov will pilot the capsule, and he is one of the crew members replacing the current group. He, Brightman, and European astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, will be the complete party for the October trip. The training regimen, which lasts nine months, began this week as soon as Brightman made it to Russia. The original date where training was meant to commence was Jan. 15, but the British celebrity needed a few extra days to overcome a cold.
In the event that she cannot continue, or her sickness returns, Satoshi Takamatsu, a businessman from Japan, will go in her stead. Since there will be no time to train him if Brightman does indeed fail to make it through training, both will attend training sessions together at the Star City center. Brightman will have a partner to undergo the space training with, which may make the hardy regimen a little easier as they prepare for a wonderful vacation.
According to Space Adventures, over 500 lucky people have witnessed and experienced life outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Space travel is one of the last great adventures a person can embark on. The view alone should be able to hold Brightman’s attention for a steady hour. She (or Takamatsu) will fly to and return from ISS on the Soyuz 42 rocket, as outlined by the contract between the Russian Federal Space Agency and Space Adventures.
Brightman, most renowned for her part in Phantom of the Opera, is beginning to prepare for her potential trip to space by training alongside the other potential ISS visitor, Takamatsu. They may both have a good time training, and no matter which of them gets to explore ISS, one will undertake a grand experience like none other. The $52 million ticket admission seems but a small price to pay for that.
By Matthew Austin Bowers
Photo by carpediem.28_50 – Flickr License