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MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. British famed soprano singer Sarah Brightman has come back to Moscow and has begun preparations for her journey to the International Space Station (ISS), Yury Lonchakov, the head of Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, said on Monday.
“Brightman has returned to Moscow and has started preparations for the space flight,” Lonchakov said. “The preparations are in line with the schedule,” he told TASS.
According to the press service of the Russian space training center in Star City, outside Moscow, the center is due to introduce an individual program for the British singer.
Earlier a spokesman for Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said Brightman had left Moscow and flown to Britain to see her ill mother.
However, Alexey Krasnov, who is in charge of the Russian Space Agency’s piloted programs, told TASS on Friday that Brightman “had to fly away for family reasons, but pledged to be back in Moscow on Sunday.”
Krasnov said the British space tourist would begin her trainings on Monday adding that Brightman did not backpedal from the flight in favor of her substitute, who is 51-year-old Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu.
“There were no instructions that she had refused to take part in the space flight,” Krasnov said.
Brightman's flight is scheduled for September 1-11, 2015. If the British singer reaches the ISS in September as it had been planned, she will become the eighth space tourist in the world.
The pioneer space tourist is US entrepreneur Dennis Tito, who made the flight to the ISS in 2001 for $20 million and spent eight days at the station. The most recent space tourist at the station is Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberte, who spent 11 days at the ISS in 2009 for $40 million.
The only female space tourist so far reaching the ISS is Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian-American engineer and co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems. Her 12-day stay at the space station in 2006 cost her $20 million.