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June 15, 2009

Cirque du Soleil Founder to be 1st Canadian Private Space Explorer

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

View of Earth from the International Space StationSpace Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil and the ONE DROP Foundation, has begun training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City in preparation for his poetic social mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

“I have been described as many things throughout my 25 years with Cirque du Soleil. Fire-breather, entrepreneur, street smart, creative,” says Mr. Laliberté. “I am honored and humbled today with my new description: humanitarian space explorer. Traveling has always been my way of life and I have been researching the possibilities of space travel with Space Adventures since 2004. But I needed it to be the right time and for the right purpose. This is the time. And the purpose is clear: to raise awareness on water issues to humankind on planet earth. My mission is dedicated to making a difference on this vital resource by using what I know best: artistry. This will be the first poetic social mission in space. This is also a very symbolic time for me to be in Star City since, after 25 years, Cirque du Soleil will be introduced to Russia ! The timing could not be more appropriate!”

He will be joining the Soyuz TMA -16 crew that includes Russian cosmonaut Maksim Surayev and NASA astronaut Jeffery Williams. The launch is scheduled for September 30, 2009.

Eric Anderson , president and CEO of Space Adventures, said, “I have known Guy for several years. He has been a member of our Orbital Mission Explorers Circle; and since our very first discussions with him, he has wanted to travel in space for a purpose. I believe that his poetic social mission truly realizes his intentions and provides him the opportunity to express his vision in a unique way. We are proud to be able to assist him in making his dream a reality.”

During his 12-day stay at the ISS, Mr. Laliberté will share information about water issues in the world through a singular poetic approach. The messages he transmits will raise awareness for ONE DROP Foundation initiatives that promote Water for all, all for water.

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