British singer Sarah Brightman announced on Wednesday that she had bought a seat to fly on a Russian spaceship, describing the journey as a chance to fulfill a childhood desire "beyond her wildest dreams."
Brightman, 52, who is famous for starring in "The Phantom of the Opera," plans to rocket some 400 kilometers above Earth to the International Space Station — becoming the first space tourist since Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte donned a red clown's nose on his 2009 trip.
"I am more excited about this than I have been about anything I have done to date," Brightman, in platform heels and a silky black dress, told reporters on a visit to Moscow. "Most of my life I have felt an incredible desire to take the journey to space that I have now begun," she said. "This is beyond my wildest dreams."
A news conference held for the announcement in Moscow began with a music video advertising Brightman's new album "Dream Chaser," which is expected to be released in January.
The video of her crooning the album's top track "Angel" is spliced with footage of her as a child and famous moments from Soviet space history.
Brightman, a UNESCO artist for peace, said seeing fuzzy television images of the first "bouncing" human steps on the moon in 1969 when she was eight years old inspired her with the dream to travel to space.
"It was something miraculous. For me, it was an epiphany," she said of the experience. "It seemed so unrealistic and crazy at the time but I suddenly saw that it was possible."
While the diva did not disclose the price tag for the trip, the ninth so far brokered by U.S. firm Space Adventures, it can be expected to be at least as much as Russia charges NASA astronauts for the privilege — more than $50 million.
The adventure package includes 12 days in orbit. Brightman said she will use her mission to promote education for women in the sciences and raise environmental awareness.