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Sarah Brightman books trip to space, and she may perform

MOSCOW (AP) -- Sarah Brightman, beloved by audiences and renowned for her voice's three-octave range, rocketed to fame more than two decades ago as the heroine of "The Phantom of the Opera." Now the world's biggest-selling soprano is heading to outer space.

On Wednesday, Brightman told a news conference in Moscow that she has booked a trip to the International Space Station. Brightman, who had a hit in 1978 with "I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper" and has sold more than 30 million records, will become the first recording artist in space.

The British singer said that after touring the world in 2013 for her new album, "Dreamchaser," she will spend six months in Russia's Star City cosmonaut training center.

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"I think of myself not just as a dreamer, but as a dream chaser," she said.

Brightman, a UNESCO ambassador, said the trip would also serve as a way to promote the U.N. agency's message, by encouraging women's education in the sciences and environmental awareness. She hinted at the possibility of doing a promotional "space concert."

She wouldn't give a precise time for her mission, but Alexei Krasnov, the head of manned programs at the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said she would likely make it in the fall of 2015.

Krasnov said the price tag for the flight was in "tens of millions of dollars," but he refused to name a precise figure.

Brightman teamed up with the private company Space Adventures, which organizes trips for private space explorers. When questioned about the expense of the journey, Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures, wouldn't give a figure but joked that "it's a round-trip flight."

Previous flights have cost the adventurous travelers over $20 million each, according to several of the participants.

The cost should be of little concern for Brightman, who has grossed millions of dollars from her tours and albums. Brightman, the ex-wife of Broadway playwright Andrew Lloyd Webber, said in a 2008 interview with the Guardian that she had offered to return the money she won in their divorce settlement, worth 6 million pounds.

Brightman will be the eighth private space explorer to take such a journey. Most other participants lacked Brightman's fame.

"I think she is a natural candidate," Anderson said, "somebody whose entire career revolves around inspiring people and communicating messages and really inspiring emotion. ... When they come back they can really share that experience with a much broader set of the public."

Wednesday's announcement came despite Russia's announcement in 2010 that it was halting space tourism for lack of free seats on its Soyuz capsules. The Soyuz capsules have become the only means of ferrying crews to the space station since NASA put its shuttles out of business last year.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
9Comments
Oct 11, 2012 9:37AM
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Sarah Brightman not only has a beautiful voice but she is a beauty herself, I've been a fan for years, the concerts with Andrea Boccelli are fantastic.

Oct 11, 2012 7:46AM
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Well, at least she's spending those spare thousands of dollars on something that will REALLY help others. People dying from lack of nutrition, or living in a cardboard box (or both) will be glad to know she's up there singing.
Oct 11, 2012 6:04AM
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Must be nice to have expendable income, why don't you send some G,I.s home? Wasting your money  If You have so much  money you  could have  spent something on the Armed forcres and thier family members.They are out of work or dead! At least donate some money to the Vets,ti's called priorites. You are very talented Sara but what gives? New songs? From space, oh great.
Oct 10, 2012 8:28PM
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I look forward to hearing your song from space.
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