Soprano in space: 'Phantom of the Opera' star trains for ISS flight in Russian forest

Photo courtesy: Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (gctc.ru)
World-famous soprano and songwriter Sarah Brightman is braving Russia’s wilds as she undergoes special astronaut training in survival in extreme rural conditions, which includes making a shelter from a parachute and cooking food in the forest.

Brightman is to go on a 10-day trip in September.

The Phantom of the Opera star knows that if she’s to get her $52 million’s worth, there is no cutting corners, as training at Russia’s famed Yuri Gagarin Star City boot camp enters the forest/swamp landing phase.

READ MORE: Would-be ISS space tourist Sarah Brightman comes to Russia for Star City boot camp

This week participants in the ‘winter survival’ course are undergoing practical and theoretical approaches to the exercise. These will be put to use once the Soyuz capsule reenters the atmosphere. Skills are also being honed in the area of medicine and emergency operating procedures. Brightman was given water-resistant pants and a machete, as well as other things, all of which she would put to use to make a fire, stay warm, or fight a bear, if the worst comes to the worst.

In other phases, participants are also taught how to orient themselves around a real space vessel, as well as getting a crash course in physics, biology and other sciences. Psychological preparation and working things out with a psychologist are a must.

Photo courtesy: Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (gctc.ru)

Together with another civilian adventurer, Satoshi Takamizu from Japan, and several Roskosmos and NASA pilots and scientists, Brightman, 54, is engaged in a simulation of a worst-case scenario. According to a representative with the Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City, Brightman and ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be making a fire, cooking dinner, making a tent out of the Soyuz capsule parachute and await rescue as part of the exercise.

Photo courtesy: Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (gctc.ru)

That’s not all Brightman will be doing for the next six months. As part of her training, the best-selling opera diva and former wife of composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber is also learning Russian.“A major part of the training”will be dedicated to that, the training center representative said.

Once the group is done with the forest-survival phase, they’ll be taken to Baikonur in Kazakhstan, from where they’ll blast off two weeks after training is complete, around August 15.

Photo courtesy: Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (gctc.ru)

Brightman has cleared her touring schedule and is rumored to be taking her upcoming duties as ISS crew member extremely seriously.

And it’s not just the prospect of seeing the stars that has the soprano pining for this trip. She is to hold an actual show in space, completely live. What’s more, the classical arrangements will all be conducted and played on Earth.

The singer is set to become the eighth space tourist to set foot aboard the International Space Station. Accompanying her will be Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov and European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen. Japan’s Satoshi Takamazu will be her backup and is also the next contender for space travel.