British soprano Sarah Brightman has dropped out of a planned trip this fall to the International Space Station citing ” for personal family reasons.” A post on the singer’s website did not elaborate on those reasons.
The announcement comes only weeks after press reports said Brightman would be replaced by her backup, Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu, because she would not be ready in time for the flight. Those reports were denied at the time.
Brightman’s announcement describes the decision as a postponement, indicating that she could fly at a future time aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Because the Soyuz is the only transport system serving the six-person station, there will probably not be another opportunity until 2017 or 2018 when U.S. commercial providers Boeing and SpaceX begin transporting astronauts to ISS.
A Soyuz seat is open this year because a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are spending almost one year aboard the station instead of returning to Earth after five to six months. Each three-seat Soyuz spacecraft must be rotated off the ISS every six months.