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World's richest clown prepares to blast into space from Baikonur

© RIA Novosti . Grigoriy Sisoev / Go to the photo bankFounder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté
Founder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté - Sputnik International
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The Soyuz rocket due to take Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte to the International Space Station has been brought to the launch pad at Russia's Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.

BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan), September 29 (RIA Novosti) -The Soyuz rocket due to take Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte to the International Space Station has been brought to the launch pad at Russia's Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.

Laliberte, 50, has paid about $35 million for his 12-day stay on the station.

U.S. plans to scrap its space shuttle and the expansion of the ISS crew to six personnel mean he will be the last space tourist for the next few years, as the Russian Soyuz spacecraft will be the only vehicle for human flights to and from the international orbiter.

The billionaire clown plans to use the trip as a publicity stunt for Cirque du Soleil and also to raise awareness about world water supply problems.

Meanwhile, the professionals will be taking care of other business.

"Three cargo freighters will be delivered to the station, and these will have to be unloaded," Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev said. "We are also expecting two shuttles and a new MIM-2 [docking] module."

U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Surayev will replace Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and U.S. astronaut Michael Barratt, who will return to Earth with Laliberte next month after having been on the space station since March.

 

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