British opera star Sarah Brightman is about to join an exclusive and out-of-this-world club.
The 54-year-old has started training for a September mission to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. Should she complete the six-month spaceflight training, she'll become the eighth tourist to visit the ISS, as well as the first international celebrity. The price for achieving her life-long dream of traveling to the stars? An estimated $52 million for 10 days of weightlessness and unbelievable views.
In a recent video, Brightman revealed that ever since watching the moon landing in 1969, she has wanted to travel to space.
"This coming January, I'm excited to be starting my space training at Star City, which is just outside of Moscow," she said. "And I look forward to sharing all of my adventures with you over the coming months."
Brightman rocketed to fame in the mid-80s on Broadway, playing the role of Christine in "The Phantom of the Opera." Upon retiring from the stage, she launched a solo career that established her as the world's best-selling soprano of all-time with over 30 million records and 2 million DVDs sold. In 2012, she was appointed the UNESCO Artist for Peace, a role she said would carry over into her mission to space.
"I hope that I can encourage others to take inspiration from my journey both to chase down their own dreams and to help fulfill the important UNESCO mandate to promote peace and sustainable development on Earth and from space," she told reporters in 2012. "I am determined that this journey can reach out to be a force for good, a catalyst for some of the dreams and aims of others that resonate with me."
While the income from being an international opera star is a good one, Brightman's net worth reportedly does not exceed the total ISS ticket price, leading many to assume that at least a portion of the spaceflight is being paid for by her promoters. And yes, she has confirmed that, if possible, she will become the first artist to sing from space. (Sorry, Lady Gaga.)
Should Brightman's plans to visit the ISS fall through, she has a backup plan, having purchased a $250,000 seat on Richard Branson's planned Virgin Galactic flight to space. With that spaceflight expected to only last a few minutes, she might want to do her vocal warmups on the ground.
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