Clown In Space
Is there any chance that some of the clowns that are in high positions in this country could be launched into space just as long as it is a one way journey.
Clown blasts off into space
on 30/09/2009 08:23:15
A billionaire clown blasted off today on a Soyuz rocket trip to the International Space Station.
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and two fellow astronauts were cheered by supporters wearing red clown noses during pre-launch preparations at Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
As Laliberte, US astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev climbed into their capsule on the launch pad, they sang the pop song 'Mammy Blue'.
Among those cheering was Laliberte's partner, former model Claudia Barilla.
As Laliberte, 50, emerged after last-minute suit pressure checks, he blew kisses to supporters and held both hands over his heart in a mime's show of affection.
His enthusiasm seemed to infect others during the normally low-key launch preparations.
Williams, a two-time space traveller who recently became a grandfather, and Surayev plan to stay in orbit for 169 days, while Laliberte is to return to Earth after 12 days in space.
Laliberte paid $35m for his flight.
He has a 95% stake in Cirque du Soleil, a circus arts and theatre performance company that turned 25 this year.
The entertainment tycoon has said he is taking nine red noses into orbit.
He has also promised to tickle other station crew members as they sleep, and to help publicise the world's growing shortage of clean water during the flight.
Surayev said he was taking a plush toy lion that will hang in front of him after take-off to signal the beginning of weightlessness. His young daughters kept the toy under their pillows to "make sure that the lion smells of home for the next six months".
Williams said he will have a picture of his family and infant grandson, born only a month ago.
The Soyuz team is scheduled to continue construction of the space station, where in-orbit work began in 1998. Six shuttle flights remain to wrap it up.
The station has already become the largest artificial satellite, weighing more than 710,000 pounds and orbiting the Earth at 220 miles high.
The station has cost more than $100bn, paid by the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and the 18-nation European Space Agency.
Laliberte may be one of the last private visitors to the space station for several years as Nasa retires its shuttle programme and turns to the Russian space agency to ferry US astronauts to the orbiting lab, crowding out places for tourists.
Eric Anderson, chief executive of Space Adventures, said his company will try to make sure that at least three tourists visit the space station each year, despite the shuttle's scheduled retirement.
"I keep hearing that space tourism is ending and it never seems to be true," he said.
One way to keep the programme alive, Mr Anderson said, would be to increase the number of Russian Soyuz missions.
The Truth is out there.
Mission control Offaly
The Truth is out there.
We'll be fine..
The US has NASA but we have NAMA.