- (Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard)
Soprano singer Sarah Brightman has announced her plans to board a Russian spacecraft for a 10-day visit to the International Space Station on Wednesday, surprising many of her fans.
Believed to be one of the wealthiest classical crossover performers in the world, Brightman will board a flight on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft possibly in the year 2015.
The 52-year-old British singer will become the first tourist to enter space since 2009's space tourism hiatus.
"As I'm sure you may know, I'm planning to become a spaceflight participant and have been recently approved to begin my spaceflight training by the Russian space federation having passed the necessary medical and physical tests," said Brightman during a press conference in Moscow, according to CBS News.
"The final scheduling and details of my trip by Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station will be determined very shortly by the Roscosmos and the ISS partners," she noted.
On Twitter, some of Brightman's fans praised the singer for her ambitious space travel plans, while others criticized them.
"Good for her," wrote Samantha of Brightman booking a flight to space station. "I would if I could."
Ryan wrote, "Once the aliens hear her sing… they'll annihilate us for sure, Sarah Brightman to head to space on 2014 or 2015?"
It is unknown how much Brightman's seat on the Soyuz flight cost, but in their latest contract with NASA, Russians charged more than $60 million for training and flights to and from the space station, according to CBS News.
Ahead of her space tour, Brightman plans to go on tour promoting her new album, visiting five continents before returning to Russia to begin six months of training for the mission.
A star in West End musicals such as "The Phantom Of The Opera," Brightman said the trip will be part of "realizing her dreams," and that she might "sing a song from space," according to Sky News.
"A journey into space is the greatest adventure I can imagine," said the singer. "The opportunity to orbit the Earth, witnessing multiple sunrises and sunsets everyday, looking back to our small blue life-sustaining jewel from a distance gives me the greatest sense of anticipation."
Of her 10-day journey aboard the lab complex, Brightman said she has "no idea, really, at this moment that the feeling will be like."
"Obviously, one has to get that information from other cosmonauts who have been up there and astronauts also," said the singer.
Brightman said that she plans to work with UNESCO in communicating her excitement to young girls around the world in order to help educate women in poor countries.
"We also want to use this voyage to bring more girls, not just those in poor countries, but from around the world into the educational fold and hopefully enable many of them to advance into science in technology," the singer explained. "It's in everyone's best interest to help close the gender gap in the sciences."