Launch planned for September 2009
Mission will focus on initiatives of the ONE DROP Foundation
Moscow -- June 4, 2009 - Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil and the ONE DROP Foundation, has begun training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City in preparation for his poetic social mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
"I have been described as many things throughout my 25 years with Cirque du Soleil. Fire-breather, entrepreneur, street smart, creative," says Mr. Laliberte. "I am honored and humbled today with my new description: humanitarian space explorer. Traveling has always been my way of life and I have been researching the possibilities of space travel with Space Adventures since 2004. But I needed it to be the right time and for the right purpose. This is the time. And the purpose is clear: to raise awareness on water issues to humankind on planet earth. My mission is dedicated to making a difference on this vital resource by using what I know best: artistry. This will be the first poetic social mission in space. This is also a very symbolic time for me to be in Star City since, after 25 years, Cirque du Soleil will be introduced to Russia! The timing could not be more appropriate!"
He will be joining the Soyuz TMA-16 crew that includes Russian cosmonaut Maksim Surayev and NASA astronaut Jeffery Williams. The launch is scheduled for September 30, 2009.
Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, said, "I have known Guy for several years. He has been a member of our Orbital Mission Explorers Circle; and since our very first discussions with him, he has wanted to travel in space for a purpose. I believe that his poetic social mission truly realizes his intentions and provides him the opportunity to express his vision in a unique way. We are proud to be able to assist him in making his dream a reality."
During his 12-day stay at the ISS, Mr. Laliberte will share information about water issues in the world through a singular poetic approach. The messages he transmits will raise awareness for ONE DROP Foundation initiatives that promote Water for all, all for water.
About Guy Laliberte
Guy Laliberte was born in Quebec City in 1959. An accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-breather, he founded Quebec's first internationally renowned circus with the support of a small group of accomplices. A bold visionary, Guy Laliberte recognized and cultivated the talents of the street performers from the Fete foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul and created Cirque du Soleil in 1984.
Since the very beginnings of Cirque du Soleil, Guy has insisted on having a social approach as part of the development of the company. Keenly aware that Cirque could play a role as agent of change, over 15 years ago, he created Cirque du Monde, an arts education program for street kids all over the world. He also chose to set up the International Headquarters and creative studios of Cirque du Soleil in the St. Michel district of Montreal, one of the poorest neighborhoods in North America, to stimulate a sense of local pride and ensure the revitalization of the area through artistic stimulation. This paved the way to TOHU, Cite des arts du Cirque, a project he initiated in the same neighborhood. Since early on he has also dedicated 1% of all revenues generated by Cirque du Soleil to social and cultural programs worldwide.
Guy was the first to orchestrate the marriage of cultures and artistic and acrobatic disciplines that is the hallmark of Cirque du Soleil. Since 1984, he has guided the creative team through the creation of every show and contributed to elevating the circus arts to the level of the great artistic disciplines.
In October 2007, Guy Laliberte entered into a second lifetime commitment by creating the ONE DROP Foundation to fight poverty around the world by providing sustainable access to safe water. This new initiative stems from the knowledge that the right to water is key to the survival of individuals and communities all over the world. It is inspired by the values which have been at the heart of Cirque du Soleil since its inception: the belief that life gives back what you have given and even the smallest gesture will make a difference. For more information, please visit www.onedrop.org.
About Space Adventures
Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world's first private space explorers, is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with an office in Moscow. It offers a variety of programs such as the availability today for spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. In 2012, Space Adventures plans to launch the first private mission to the ISS. This private spaceflight will be a fully-dedicated mission of the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft with two seats available, along with a comprehensive package of services including science, education and media program options. The company's advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot, Charles Walker, Skylab/Shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com.
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