UK singer Brightman to be Russia's next space tourist

Updated: 2012-10-12 11:23


  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Industry set to take off

A decade after US businessman Dennis Tito became Russia's first space tourist, the commercial space flight industry is heating up.

US space agency NASA gave the industry a boost when it signalled it expects to rely on private sector "space taxis" to ferry cargo and crew to the $100-billion orbital research station after the retirement of its shuttle programme last year.

The US agency has handed Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Orbital Sciences Corp.(ORB.N) contracts worth a total $3.5 billion to reach that goal.

Several firms are now jostling for a position in a sector that officials in President Barack Obama's administration have estimated will be worth $1 billion in 10 years.

To experience weightlessness on Virgin Galactic's suborbital plane, Brightman will have bought a $200,000 ticket. The firm, an offshoot of British tycoon Richard Branson's Virgin Group, expects to launch commercial service in late 2013 or 2014.

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.

Russian space official Alexei Krasnov said Brightman's flight would likely take place in the fall of 2015.

Brightman married composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in the 1980s and pursued a chart-topping solo career after they broke up in 1990, bringing classical music to a broader audience and selling millions of records along the way.

Brightman became famous among Chinese fans as she sang the official song You and Me for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games with Chinese singer Liu Huan at the Opening Ceremony.

Related readings:

Russian to mend problems on space industry

Experts eye promising future of space economy

Timeline for China's space research revealed

China unveils ambitious space projects

Space economy to boom in China


Previous Page 1 2 Next Page