Billionaire space tourist Guy Laliberte said Oct. 6 the only problem he is having at the International Space Station is hitting his head in the weightless environment environment of the space station. Laliberte, founder of the Cirque du Soleil, arrived at the ISS Oct. 1 for an 11-day stay after blasting off from Kazakhstan early Sept. 30 aboard a Russian Soyuz craft along with Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev and American astronaut Jeffrey Williams.
“I just don’t want to knock any of those computers out. At this point I’m just very, very careful,” Laliberte said in a televised press conference on NASA TV. “”Every moment I live right now, I don’t have the time to process everything I’m experiencing, the magic of it. Right now, I’m absorbing everything. Right now, I have a big smile up to my ears.”
Laliberte, who reportedly spent $35 million for the space trip, said the flight has been worth every penny and denied it was a publicity stunt. “I believe, because over and above doing it for myself, there’s a lot of other stuff that’s going on,” he said.
Although Laliberte has billed his trip as a “poetic social mission,” he has stressed one of the real purposes of the trip to bring attention to the scarcity of clean water on Earth. Laliberte is founder of the One Drop Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that everyone across the planet has access to water.
Stunt or not, Laliberte plans to coordinate from space a two-hour, 14-city show on earth featuring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Peter Gabriel and U2 seeking to raise awareness through “artistic illustration of the humanitarian struggles and solutions associated with water.”
The event will take place simultaneously in Montreal, Moscow, Santa Monica, New York City, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Marrakesh, Sydney, Osaka, Tampa, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, London and will be globally broadcast. In addition, the 120-minute show will be webcast through the One Drop Foundation.
“The Earth will gaze up at the stars and resonate to the rhythms of artists and world-renowned figures who will demonstrate their commitment to water and pay tribute to this vitally important natural resource,” states a press release from Laliberte.
Other performers who have committed to the event include actors Matthew McConaughey and Salma Hayek, singers Joss Stone, Elisapie Isaac, Helene Segara, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Michel Fugain, Natasha St Pier, Lorie and Zazie, musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Nicolai Tsiskaridze and poet Touria Ikbal.