As Sarah Brightman pulls out, Russia starts looking for a replacement


Sarah Brightman has decided that she won’t be making the $52 million trip to the International Space Station (ISS) citing family reasons and the chain reaction to this is that the Russians have started looking for a replacement tourist in a bid to fill the millions of dollars worth of financial void, which Brightman’s seat will leave behind.

Brightman hasn’t revealed specific reason why she has decided to suspend her flight to the ISS, but sources close to the singer have revealed that the singer is pulling out because of her mother’s poor health. In a brief statement, the Russian space agency said it “hopes that all will be well with Brightman’s loved ones”, giving an indication that someone very close to the singer might not be well.

The soprano was to shell out a whopping $52 million for her trip to the ISS. She had already started training for the trip and passed health checks.

Brightman’s decision of pulling out of the trip sparked rumours that her decision was because of the recent failure of Progress 59 spacecraft to make it safely to the ISS. The spacecraft went out of control and ended up burning in Earth’s atmosphere.

Beyond the “personal reasons” and “safety concern” reports, some speculated that the singer hasn’t managed to raise enough funds from sponsors for her trip to the space station, though the singer has maintained throughout that she was going to pay for the trip by herself.

There have been rumours about Brightman pulling out from the trip as early as January after she delayed her training to make time for her visit to her sick mother.

The Alternative

So what options does ROSCOMOS have now? One of the alternatives is to send up one or two extra replacement cargo flights that would make up for the $52 million loss. Russian space official Sergei Krikalev, speaking to Interfax, called this one as a “simplest and quickest solution”.

According to sources close to the space agency, Russian authorities are looking at several candidates as potential replacement.

“The chances of finding a suitable candidate are small, especially since there’s practically no time left for training”, one of the sources told Interfax news agency.

There have been speculation that Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu, who just signed up for the training and not the trip, might step in as Brightman’s replacement and may end up making the trip to the space station.

Brightman has said that it is a temporary suspension, but there is no word as to when and if she will make the trip in future.