Accessibility links

Sarah Brightman To Chase Down 'Starship Trooper' Aboard Soyuz Mission


British entertainer Sarah Brightman smiles during an interview in Moscow on October 10, when she announced her plans to travel to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

British entertainer Sarah Brightman smiles during an interview in Moscow on October 10, when she announced her plans to travel to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

It's safe to assume that British quinquagenarian talent trove Sarah Brightman has been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time.

Three decades after her breakout pop hit as a teenager, "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper," Brightman announced at a Moscow press conference on October 10 that she was headed into space on a Soyuz mission to the International Space Station.

The ebullient, classically trained singer, dancer, and actress with a list of musical achievements that's light years long said she was "more excited about this than I have been about anything I have done to date."

"This is beyond my wildest dreams," the stage star of "Phantom Of The Opera" said, conveniently echoing the title of her upcoming album, "Dream Chaser."

WATCH: Brightman's 1978 hit actually includes the lines: "Niner, niner-zero, this is Star Comm. We've got a problem on your vector. Request status check. Over":


Russian authorities said her trip was planned for late 2015, the soonest that seats are expected to come available given the amount of responsibility that the U.S. space agency, NASA, has outsourced to Russia, according to Reuters.

The singer will be the first space tourist on Russia's Soyuz spaceship since 2009. Seats on the three-person craft became scarce when NASA mothballed its shuttles, leaving Russian rockets as the only ones capable of carrying crews into orbit.

NASA will double the amount of time an astronaut spends on the orbital station to one year -- to lay the groundwork for future missions deeper into space -- freeing up seats for tourists from March 2015.

If all goes well, Brightman will spend nearly two weeks in orbit after lifting off and hooking up with the International Space Station some 400 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

She's the first artist in history to perform at separate Olympic Games (in Barcelona in 1992 and Beijing in 2008), so she might well perform a toe-tapping, zero-gravity song at some point in the journey.

Brightman would thus become the ninth space tourist booked aboard a Russian spaceflight brokered by U.S.-based Space Adventures.

The privilege has cost private space tourists before her like American Dennis Tito, South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, Iranian-American woman Anousheh Ansari, and Canadian Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte tens of millions of dollars. Brightman is said to be spending at least $35 million for the feat.

It seems like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Except that, according to Reuters, Brightman "has already booked a ride on Virgin Galactic's planned suborbital SpaceShipTwo vehicle." That experience goes for a relatively modest $200,000.

It's safe to say that she's hooked.

"As a child of the 60s, with all the rockets they were sending up and the first man on the moon -- space was very much in the child's understanding," she told Reuters.

"When I understood that it was possible even to take a suborbital flight suddenly it was: 'Yes, that is what I have always wanted to do. This is my dream!'"

She said she passed the rigorous pre-flight test at Russia's Star City training centre outside Moscow "with flying colours".

Brightman is a UNESCO "artist for peace" in recognition of her humanitarian and intercultural efforts, and she vowed to use the exposure to promote women's education in the sciences and environmental issues.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG