Clown blasts off for ISS
Red noses all round for orbiting outpost
The billionaire founder of the Cirque du Soleil this morning blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a mission to deliver a bit of levity to the International Space Station.
Guy Laliberté, 50, plus flight engineers Jeffrey Williams and Maxim Suraev flew aloft at 07:14 GMT aboard a Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft. Laliberté is apparently carrying vital supplies of nine comedy red clown noses for the ISS crew, and said prior to the launch: "I am going with my sense of humour. Even in serious things you need to leave a place for humour."
Quite what Laliberté paid for his jaunt is unknown, but the same trip cost US space tourist Charles Simonyi a cool $35m. Laliberté will return to Earth on 10 October along with Expedition 20 crew members commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Michael Barratt, who've been on the ISS since arriving back in March.
The new professional arrivals, Williams and Suraez, form part of Expedition 21. Williams, 51, is a spaceflight vet, who previously visited the ISS on space shuttle Atlantis's STS-101 mission in May 2000. In 2006, he did a six-month stint aboard the orbiting outpost as an Expedition 13 flight engineer.
Russian Air Force colonel Suraev, 37, is making his first flight into space. ®
Space Tourists - Too bad NASA won't consider them
Taking the red clown noses into space are a good touch. Too bad the US won't consider commercial tourists. And soon the Space shuttle program will be ending and we will lose some of the upload and download capability for the space station. It is really almost the end of an era.
A good article on space shuttle retirement is at http://hubpages.com/hub/Space-Shuttle-Retirement
... did they make him leave behind the soda-syphon, the bucket full of white-wash (and the other one that's full of confetti) and the modelling balloons?
We need to know these things!
Well, if Mark Shuttleworth can do it with Ubuntu...
Are we in for a new Linux disti?
"Red Nose Linux"?