By now you’ve all probably heard that both Boeing and SpaceX received bids from NASA to continue developing its manned shuttle, the CST-100. Reports indicate that Boeing received a higher bid, though largely because their craft is more expensive than SpaceX’s Dragon. This means that at some point in the hopefully not so distant future NASA can stop buying American astronauts seats on Russian soyuz capsules for more than $70 million a pop. While a seat on the new space taxis will cost a bit more than a ride to the airport, they’ll be cheaper than that, and the money won’t be going to the folks who want to divest from the ISS. Part of Boeing’s 5-year, $4.2 billion contract (SpaceX’s is $2.6 billion) will enable the ferrying not only astronauts, but also giving rides to space tourists who are clients of Space Adventures.
Turns out, Space Adventures has been around for over 15 years and offers a range of space experiences. The company has sent 7 tourists into space so far, starting with Dennis Tito, who, back in 2001, was the first private citizen to explore space. Guy Laiberte, CEO of Cirque du Soleil and the first private Canadian citizen in space, is another. I haven’t heard of any of the other clients (Lance Bass trained, but didn’t actually go) before, but Sarah Brightman will change all that.
I only know who Brightman is because my parents were big fans of musicals, and whenever they played various Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in the house, one of the female singers was inevitably Sarah Brightman. She’s…well, she’s a very good singer, and I’m pretty sure the Phantom of the Opera was in love with her. Other than that, I wouldn’t have assumed her extra curriculars were all that interesting, but this chanteuse is going to go space, and soon. She says she wants to be the first musician to sing from space, which means now the race is on, as Lady Gaga has said the same thing (and come on—who’s better suited for space, Lady Gaga or an operatic soprano)?
Space Adventures is arranging Brightman’s trip, for which she began medical testing and training this year, though she too will be making the actual journey in a soyuz capsule. But if Boeing’s plan comes to fruition, Space Adventures will be buying seats for their customers aboard the CST-100. That would be great and all, but if I’m going to space, I’ll wait for a seat on the Dragon.