Sarah Brightman’s Flight to ISS Appears to Be Back on — Again


Good news, everyone! It looks like soprano Sarah Brightman will be flying to the International Space Station after all. Just like they announced nine months ago.

Ending months of crackling suspense that had millions (or thousands, hundreds, or maybe just scores –hard to say) of people around the world on the edge of their seats, Russian officials have appeared to re-announced what they once again say are firm plans to have the British recording star travel to ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

“The sides will discuss in the near future the implementation of this project, including Sarah Brightman’s preparation for the flight and the program of her activities on board the orbital station,” the Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.

Well, that appears definitive.

According to Russian media reports, Brightman is now scheduled to fly to ISS in October 2015 on a flight that will cost  tens of millions of dollars. She will become the eighth tourist to visit the space station under a program that began in 2001.

The flight, brokered through the U.S.-based firm Space Adventures, had been publicly announced in Moscow last August. Since then, Russian space officials have appeared to equivocate on whether the flight would actually take place, citing issues with crew replacement schedules and the length of stays aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Such equivocation has occurred previously as Russian officials have cast doubt on whether the space tourism program would continue. Observers have long been puzzled over whether these statements were part of a successful strategy to raise ticket prices, or whether they reflected genuine disagreement within Roscosmos over the value of sending tourists to the space station.

Either way, the uncertainty has kept Brightman’s upcoming flight in the news, which might be another reason why officials have equivocated. Although announcing a plan and then casting doubt on it might not be the best way to sell additional tickets, if that was indeed the goal.

The most recent space tourist to fly aboard a Soyuz was Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. He flew to the station in 2009. In total, seven individuals have flown to the station on eight flights, with Microsoft mogul Charles Simonyi visiting twice.