Famous opera singer, Sarah Brightman, is preparing for a voyage to outer space. The singer, famed for her three-octave vocal range and several performances in high-profile musicals, has been training over 16 hours a day in preparation for her International Space Station flight scheduled on September 1st.
Amidst the comments that this is another public relations ploy, Brightman shares that space travel has always been one of her dreams, inspired by the Apollo mission, which she remembered watching on TV as a little girl in 1969. This apparently showed her a world full of possibilities, which she states inspired her to push herself to work harder and do more.
Brightman, who was born in Hertfordshire, England, started her career as a dancer in Hot Gossip and then transitioned to releasing disco singles on her own. She then moved on to performing on-stage for Cats, where she met music writer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and then continued to star in the Phantom of the Opera.
When her marriage to Webber didn’t work out, she went back to her musical career and started recording classical music. This eventually led to her reputation as being the best-selling soprano of all time. The 1996 duet with Andrea Bocelli in Time to Say Goodbye sold over 12 million copies worldwide.
Brightman’s dream of space travel has pushed her to be one of the most active pursuers of space tourism. When Virgin Galactic was launched, she was one of the first to buy a ticket; however, another opportunity presented itself amidst delays in Virgin Galactic’s flight: Space Adventures’ Peter Diamandis asked her if she wanted to fly to the International Space Station. Convinced that this opportunity was too great to pass up, Brightman agreed to the £35 million fee and is currently being trained for that flight. The singer has denied that she is being financed by a Chinese company and confirms that the money came out of her own bank account.
She is now spending over 16 hours in Star City outside of Moscow, undergoing numerous tests and training exercises, including psychological and physical tests, plus g-force and high altitude exposure, which she has, so far, all passed despite her age (55). Add to this, her lessons in Russian, which are necessary to communicate with the rest of the crew during the flight.
Brightman will be part of a three-person team who will fly to the International Space Station on September 1st, onboard a Soyuz space rocket that will be launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome. Her expedition will last for 10 days where she will orbit the earth 16 times daily. Aside from just observing the Earth, Brightman will also be recording a track from outer space, and will probably be accompanied by an orchestra, a choir or another artist here on Earth.
Despite her decades of professional singing, Brightman still has to prepare rigorously for her space performance if she wants to be known as the first professional musician to record successfully from outer space. Since the conditions might make her sound as if she has a cold, she has already asked for tips from last year’s singing sensation, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who recorded “Space Odyssey” on the ISS.
Brightman hopes that this trip will open the doors for more international collaboration, as well as help women play a more active role in space exploration.