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Canadian space tourist begins training in Russia

Founder of the famed Canadian acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, has started his training in Russia for a 12-day trip to the International Space Station (ISS).


The 50-year-old Canadian billionaire is currently receiving training at Russia's Star City space training center, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. He is scheduled to travel to the ISS on Sept. 30, aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.


"Laliberte and his backup -- American Barbara Barrett -- will be trained to use a spacesuit and on-board means of personal hygiene, and will learn how to cook and eat in zero gravity," Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.


"In addition, they will take a daily Russian language course," the statement said.


Laliberte, who spent 35 million U.S. dollars for the world's seventh space trip, earlier said he was devoting it to raising global awareness of clean water issues.


The sixth space tourist Charles Simonyi, one of the brains behind Bill Gates' Microsoft, is the first twice self-funded space traveler.


Besides Simonyi, U.S. businessman Dennis Tito, South African Mark Shuttleworth, U.S. millionaire Gregory Olsen, Iranian-born American Anousheh Ansari and U.S. computer games developer Richard Garriott have also paid to visit space.


(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2009)