Space Adventures Sells Sarah Brightman, She Sells Space

Space Adventures yesterday confirmed rumours that Sarah Brightman will become the next space tourist. The world’s best selling soprano will fly on the Russian booster on a 10 day trip to the International Space Station at a date which has yet to be determined.  The most likely time frame appears to be 2015, when two seats are opened on the Soyuz by virtue of the recently announced year long joint stay with a U.S. and Russian crew member.

In the press release announcing the trip, Space Adventures highlighted Brightman’s desire to make it more than just an ubberrich joyride to space, which is how previous trips have sometimes been portrayed, even among the space press.

According to the release, ” In conjunction with her role as a UNESCO Artist for Peace ambassador, Brightman sees life on board the space station – which requires the mindful, shared consumption of resources and a clear and unwavering focus on sustainability – as a model for how we might better inhabit our planet. During her estimated 10-day tenure on board the space station, Brightman will advocate for UNESCO’s mandate to promote peace and sustainable development to safeguard our planet’s future. Additionally, this journey will allow Brightman to advance education and empower the role of girls and women in science and technology in an effort to help close the gender gap in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

“I don’t think of myself as a dreamer. Rather, I am a dream chaser,” said Sarah Brightman. “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. 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.”

The apparent unintentional endorsement of Sierra Nevada’s Commercial Crew entry aside, Brightman makes a very good point, and it is one which somehow seems to be consistently overlooked in most reporting involving both ISS and human space exploration in general. Regardless of your political affiliations, there is no greater crucible for addressing many of the challenges of our era than the enclosed and isolated environment of space stations and spacecraft.  harvesting and managing power, efficiently recycling and re-using resources, particularly water,  and closely monitoring and improving human health, all aspects of sustained spaceflight, have direct applications on Earth.

NASA is very good at a quite a number of things, but few would argue that effectively conveying the “value propositions” of spaceflight is one of them. Perhaps Sarah Brightman can help with that.

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