Laliberté returns safely to Earth
A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying Canada's first space tourist, Guy Laliberté, has landed safely in Kazakhstan.
The spacecraft holding the 50-year-old founder of Cirque du Soleil, along with American astronaut Michael Barratt and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, floated under a canopy of parachutes to a safe landing at 12:32 a.m. ET.
Laliberté was extracted from the capsule wearing his trademark red clown nose.
Laliberté had paid $35 million US to accompany cosmonaut Maxim Surayev and astronaut Jeffrey Williams for a 12-day space trip. The three blasted off Sept. 30 for the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazkhstan.
They arrived at the space outpost on Oct. 2 for a nine-day stay.
Williams, a three-time space traveller, and Surayev, who is on his first space flight, plan to stay in orbit for 169 days.
Making the trip back with Laliberté were Padalka and Barratt, who had spent six months on the space station.
Laliberté, the seventh private citizen to blast into space, had hoped his stay aboard the station would help raise awareness of drinking-water problems around the world. To highlight the crisis, he hosted a two-hour, star-studded multimedia event from the station on Friday.
With files from The Associated Press