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Circus chief to be space tourist

4 June 09 13:42 GMT

The founder of Cirque du Soleil, the circus performance group, is set to become Canada's first space tourist in September.

Guy Laliberte, 49, will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Russian Soyuz for a flight estimated to cost at least $25m (£15m; 18m euros).

The Quebec-based billionaire will become the seventh private citizen to visit the ISS since April 2001.

Past visits by paying space tourists have lasted from a week to 13 days.

Laliberte has said in past interviews he wanted to travel into space one day.

He follows in the footsteps of other successful entrepreneurs, including California businessman Dennis Tito and American software executive Charles Simonyi.

Mr Simonyi, the latest tourist to visit the ISS, took his second trip in March, spending an estimated $60m (£37m; 42m euros) on both space voyages.

Laliberte has built a fortune estimated at $2.5bn (£1.5bn; 1.8bn euros) from the Montreal circus, which has grown into a global organisation with $700m (£432m; 495m euros) in sales.

The flights are organised through the Virginia-based company Space Adventures.

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