Notes on the Laliberté announcement

As expected yesterday, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté announced his plans to fly to the ISS at the end of September on the next Soyuz flight to the station. Laliberté is calling his flight the “Poetic Social Mission” in space “to raise humanity’s awareness of water-related issues” for his One Drop Foundation. “Information about our world’s water-related issues will be conveyed using a singular poetic approach,” according to the site, including a poem he is writing with a Quebec poet with other forms of “artistic performance” as well.

The press conference itself was an odd affair, split between Moscow, where Laliberté was, and Montreal, where Canadian Space Agency president Steve MacLean spoke. (CSA is providing advice to Laliberté, but no other overt support.) This meant that Russian, English, and French were all spoken at the press conference, with Laliberté answering questions in the latter two languages. Oddly, while the press conference provided Russian-English (and, presumably, Russian-French) translations, there were no English-French translations, especially during the Q&A. (Laliberté read his opening statement in French first, then English.) Anglophone viewers were thus shut out of the information he provided in his responses in French, and vice versa.

Laliberté did say that he had been in Star City since May 10 for medical tests, which he has passed. Prior to getting started he exchanged emails with the two previous commercial visitors to the ISS, Charles Simonyi and Richard Garriott, getting guidance on the experience and other issues, including life in Star City. As for the price of the trip, Laliberté would not disclose a figure, citing confidentiality agreements, but said it was “pretty similar” to recent trips, which have been estimated to cost $35 million.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>