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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Is Singer Sarah Brightman the Next Space Tourist?

• http://www.space.com, by Clara Moskowitz

The singer may have paid more than $51 million to the Russian Federal Space Agency for a seat on a spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, according to ABC News.

Space Adventures, the Virginia-based firm reportedly brokering the deal, has not confirmed that Brightman will be flying in space. However, company officials said Brightman would make a "groundbreaking announcement" during a press conference in Moscow Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. Moscow time (8 a.m. EDT). Space Adventures has arranged the trips of the seven other space tourists who've flown to the space station on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

 Brightman, who gained fame starring in the original Broadway production of "Phantom of the Opera," will reportedly make her 10-day trip to low-Earth orbit in 2014 or 2015, according to ABC News.

With NASA's space shuttles now retired, Russian Soyuz spacecraft are the only vehicles currently able to carry people to the space station. As a result, open seats available for tourists have been scarce in recent years. The most recent paying passenger on a Soyuz was Canadian Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who flew in 2009.

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