October 2, 2009

Cirque Du Soleil Founder Boards Space Station

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte entered the International Space Station Friday, making him the seventh space tourist, and the first clown, to board the orbiting outpost.

Once he boarded the station alongside American astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev, Laliberte put on his round clown nose.

"I'm adapting pretty good ... but I ain't staying six months," Laliberte joked.

The 50-year-old founder of Cirque du Soleil spent about $35 million to reserve his seat on the Russian Soyuz. He will spend 12 days aboard the ISS, and is expected to be the last space tourist to board the station for at least a few years due to the upcoming retirement of NASA's shuttle fleet.

"He's doing it for fun, but it's more to realize a childhood dream," Laliberte's girlfriend, model Claudia Barilla, told the Associated Press.

Laliberte is also on a mission to gain attention for the issue of ensuring more supplies of clean water on Earth.

He will be conducting a two-hour Webcast on October 9 featuring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Irish rock group U2 and others.

Laliberte will return to Earth on October 10 along with Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and American Michael Barratt.


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