UPDATE 1-UK singer Brightman to be Russia's next space tourist

* "Starship Trooper" singer says space travel lifelong dream

* Space tourism industry set to take off this decade

(Adds interview with Brightman, context on space industry)

By Alissa de Carbonnel

MOSCOW, Oct 10 (Reuters) - British singer Sarah Brightmansaid on Wednesday she had bought a seat to fly on a Russianspaceship, describing it as a chance to live out a childhooddesire "beyond her wildest dreams".

Brightman, 52, who once had a hit song called "I Lost MyHeart to a Starship Trooper", plans to rocket some 250 miles(400 km) above Earth to the International Space Station -becoming the first space tourist since Cirque du Soleil founderGuy Laliberte donned a red clown's nose on his 2009 trip.

"I am more excited about this than I have been aboutanything I have done to date," Brightman, in platform heels anda silky black dress, told reporters in Moscow.

"Most of my life I have felt an incredible desire to takethe 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 beganwith a music video advertising Brightman's new album "DreamChaser", which is expected to be released in January.

The video of her crooning the album's top track "Angel" isspliced with footage of her as a child and famous moments fromSoviet space history.

Brightman, a UNESCO artist for peace, said seeing fuzzy TVimages of the first human steps on the moon in 1969 when she waseight 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.

While the singer did not disclose the price tag for thetrip, the ninth so far brokered by U.S. firm Space Adventures,it is expected to be upward of $35 million. Russia charges NASAastronauts more than $50 million per seat.

The adventure package includes 12 days in orbit. Brightmansaid she would use her mission to promote education for women inthe sciences and raise environmental awareness.

The star, famous for starring in the musical "Phantom of theOpera", sang her about enthusiasm for space in thigh-high bootsand a sequined leotard in her 1970s hit "I Lost my Heart to aStarship Trooper".

She has already booked a ride on Virgin Galactic's plannedsuborbital SpaceShipTwo vehicle.

"As a child of the 60s, with all the rockets they weresending up and the first man on the moon - space was very muchin the child's understanding," she told Reuters.

"When I understood that it was possible even to take asuborbital flight suddenly it was: 'Yes, that is what I havealways wanted to do. This is my dream!'"

She said she passed the rigorous pre-flight test at Russia'sStar City training centre outside Moscow "with flying colours".


A decade after U.S. businessman Dennis Tito became Russia'sfirst space tourist, the commercial space flight industry isheating up.

U.S. space agency NASA gave the industry a boost when itsignalled it expects to rely on private sector "space taxis" toferry cargo and crew to the $100-billion orbital researchstation after the retirement of its shuttle programme last year.

The U.S. agency has handed Space Exploration Technologies(SpaceX) and Orbital Sciences Corp.(ORB.N) contracts worth atotal $3.5 billion to reach that goal.

Several firms are now jostling for a position in a sectorthat officials in President Barack Obama's administration haveestimated will be worth $1 billion in 10 years.

To experience weightlessness on Virgin Galactic's suborbitalplane, Brightman will have bought a $200,000 ticket. The firm,an offshoot of British tycoon Richard Branson's Virgin Group,expects to launch commercial service in late 2013 or 2014.

The singer will be the first space tourist on Russia's Soyuzspaceship since 2009. Seats on the three-person craft becamescarce when NASA mothballed its shuttles, leaving Russianrockets as the only ones capable of carrying crews into orbit.

NASA will double the amount of time an astronaut spends onthe orbital station to one year - to lay the groundwork forfuture missions deeper into space - freeing up seats fortourists from March 2015.

Russian space official Alexei Krasnov said Brightman'sflight would likely take place in the fall of 2015.

Brightman married composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in the 1980sand pursued a chart-topping solo career after they broke up in1990, bringing classical music to a broader audience and sellingmillions of records along the way.

(Additional reporting by Irene Klotz; editing by Andrew Roche)

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