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Singer Sarah Brightman trains as space tourist – ABC Online

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Singer Sarah Brightman trains as space tourist – ABC Online

Updated January 24, 2015 15:20:21

British singer Sarah Brightman is taking part in a gruelling 72-hour survival course in a snowy Russian forest to train for her upcoming role as a space tourist.

The soprano, known for glamorous starring roles in West End musicals composed by ex-husband Andrew Lloyd Webber, is due to spend 10 days in space from September 1, after paying $ 52 million to become the eighth space tourist in a flight arranged by US firm Space Adventures.

It involves a flight in a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. She will accompany Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency.

This month Brightman began training at the legendary Gagarin cosmonaut training centre in Star City outside Moscow.

Photos of the survival course, tweeted by the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, show Brightman in a snowy forest of fir trees, lashing tree trunks together to make a shelter while wearing a waterproof jacket and trousers and a winter hat.

Temperatures fell to -16 degrees Celsius in Moscow this week, followed by heavy snowfall on Friday.

Brightman, 54, is in training with cosmonauts and astronauts from NASA, the Russian space agency and the Japanese space agency, as well as a Japanese businessman who will be her replacement on the space flight if she has to drop out.

In April 2014, she visited a space centre in Houston where there is a mock-up of a Soyuz module.

The singer said, as a small child, she witnessed the 1969 moon landings on television and it had been her lifelong ambition to travel into space.

“I would like to say how proud and honoured and excited I am to be part of the Russian space program and to be a cosmonaut in training,” she told reporters at the cosmonaut training centre.

“I hope … I can do as good a job as possible and come up to expectations and I will try as hard as I can.”

On the survival course Brightman had to spend 72 hours outside and construct a wigwam shelter using branches and a parachute, while knee-deep in snow.

The team were given rations of dried prunes, powdered cottage cheese, biscuits, chocolate, as well as coffee, tea and sugar.

The course aimed to teach survival skills in case the astronauts drifted off course when they fell to Earth in their landing capsule and had to seek shelter in rough terrain.

“Cosmonauts and astronauts have to battle freezing temperatures and the harsh conditions of our winter and keep up their morale for many hours,” the training centre said.

The astronauts’ Soyuz landing capsule would be equipped with medicines and food as well as ultra-warm winter outfits including socks made of animal fur.


Topics: space-exploration, astronomy-space, spacecraft, arts-and-entertainment, music, science-and-technology, travel-and-tourism, russian-federation, united-kingdom

First posted January 24, 2015 15:17:16

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