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Russian space official denies media rumors on Brightman’s replacement for ISS journey

April 28, 2015, 15:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier media reports said Brightman would be replaced with 51-year-old Japanese businessman Takamatsu, as he was reportedly better trained for the space journey
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MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. The Russian Mission Control Center (TsUP) has not intentions of replacing British famed soprano singer Sarah Brightman with Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu in the planned September journey to the International Space Station (ISS), TsUP chief Yury Lonchakov told TASS on Tuesday.

"Everything is all right and goes according to the schedule," Lonchakov said adding that no replacements were planned for the space travel.

Earlier media reports suggested that Brightman, whose flight was scheduled for September 1-11, 2015, would be replaced with 51-year-old Japanese businessman Takamatsu, as he was reportedly better trained for the space journey.

Takamatsu is the president of the newly created Space Travel company. He has already undergone medical tests and training at the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. The businessman was also expected to be trained at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as well.

Brightman, 54, who starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" and is the world’s best-selling soprano singer with over 30 million of CDs sold, first announced her intentions to travel to the ISS as a space tourist in August 2012.

In 2013, Roscosmos signed a relevant agreement with US-based Space Adventures Ltd. company to proceed with the superstar’s plans of traveling into space.

Tom Shelley, the president of Space Adventures, said last year that Brightman would pay a total of $52 million for her flight on board of the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS, where she plans to spend 10 days as a space tourist with ISS Expedition 45/46.

Expedition 45/46 crew members will include Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov and European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen.

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.

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