October 6, 2009

Billionaire Space Tourist Prepares To Raise Awareness

The $35 million spent on the opportunity to travel into space is "worth every penny and more," says Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberte.

Since launching from Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on Wednesday, the 50-year-old founder of Cirque du Soleil has spent time adapting to life in space, while preparing to highlight the issue of ensuring more supplies of clean water on Earth.

"Yes, it's worth every penny and more, I believe, because over and above doing it for myself, there's a lot of other stuff that's going on," said Laliberte, referring to his effort to raise awareness for his cause.

The $35 million secured his seat on the Russian Soyuz for 1 mission that will last 12 days aboard the International Space Station, 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.

"I never denied this was a moment to create awareness toward the situation of water in the world, toward foundation One Drop," he said.

"I don't have 25 years, the world doesn't have 25 years to address the situation of water, so I think this was a great opportunity to combine a personal dream also, and having a greater benefit than just coming in space."

Laliberte 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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