One issue not raised with last week’s announcement of Guy Laliberté as the next commercial ISS visitor is who his backup would be should he be unable to fly. Yesterday Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson hinted that an announcement was forthcoming, saying only that the person was “a very talented and special lady”. However, the Russian news service Interfax beat him to it, reporting Thursday that Barbara Barrett would back up Laliberté and that both had started training.
So who is Barbara Barrett? Her Wikipedia bio describes her as an “International business and aviation attorney, Businesswoman, Diplomat, [and] Rancher.” Among other accomplishments, she has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and became the first civilian woman to land an F/A-18 on an aircraft carrier (although there is some debate in the talk page associated with the Wikipedia entry about whether she actually landed the plane or was just along for the ride.) She served briefly as US ambassador to Finland last year and has been on a number of boards, including the Aerospace Corporation. She is also married to Craig Barrett, the retired CEO and chairman of Intel.