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Space tourist may have last laugh -

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SHANE MCLEOD: That old saying that "all the world's a stage" can now extend to space.

At the moment, floating above the Earth, is a man dubbed the first clown in space.

Guy Laliberte is the founder of the circus Cirque du Soleil and he's used some of his fortune to
buy a 12-day experience on the International Space Station.

But he could be the last so-called space tourist for years.

Our Moscow correspondent Scott Bevan has spoken with the billionaire adventurer during a
communications hook-up to the station from Russia's Federal Space Agency.

SCOTT BEVAN: Outside it's a chilly autumn day in Moscow but inside the mission control centre of
Russia's Federal Space Agency all eyes and thoughts are focussed on something far removed from the
Earth.

On one wall is a series of large screens and the one in the centre depicts a map of the world.
Crawling across the map is a small purple icon. Now that represents the International Space
Station, as its orbit a few hundred kilometres above the Earth is traced.

Inside the ISS is a crew of nine, including Canadian space tourist and the founder of Cirque Du
Soleil, Guy Laliberte.

GUY LALIBERTE: I feel great, it's been an amazing journey so far, an experience of a lifetime.

SCOTT BEVAN: Guy Laliberte was one of three on board the Soyuz spacecraft that blasted off on
Wednesday from the Russian launch centre in the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan. The craft
docked at the ISS about two days later.

The billionaire had reportedly paid $US 35 million for his place on this mission, and as Laliberte
told the ABC by an audio-visual hook-up, from the moment of lift-off, he's been collecting
memories.

(To Guy Laliberte) What has been the most profound or the biggest pinch-yourself moment that you've
experienced?

GUY LALIBERTE: The most profound moment is when I was in the Soyuz capsule coming up and I was
looking through that small window, obviously to see that small layer protecting Earth from all the
rest of the universe is kind of stunning and very, very fragile.

SCOTT BEVAN: Highlighting the Earth's fragility is part of the reason Guy Laliberte is floating
above it for almost two weeks. He's calling this his poetic social mission.

On Friday, he's planning to participate in a concert that will also feature Earth-bound performers
in 14 cities, including Sydney, all with the aim of promoting the need to protect and save clean
water.

Guy Laliberte is the seventh space tourist but he could be the last for some time. Seats on the
Soyuz craft will become even more scarce from next year when NASA retires its shuttles and American
astronauts will be relying on the Russians to get them to the International Space Station.

Guy Laliberte has told the ABC he hopes space tourism continues.

(To Guy Laliberte) What do you think the future of space tourism should be? Is there literally
enough room up there for space tourists?

GUY LALIBERTE: I absolutely don't know what will happen actually, for the space participants
program in the future. But I just hope there will be more and more space available though, like me
to be able to go in space (inaudible) the future for many people to experience what I've
experienced.

SCOTT BEVAN: Even if the space tourist program continues, this is one experience that will remain
reserved for those few courageous souls with the right stuff, or whose wealth is astronomical.

This is Scott Bevan in Moscow for The World Today.