Circus founder calls his trip to space a success

October 13, 2009
Space tourist Canadian billionaire and clown Guy Laliberte smiles while climbing out of the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft shortly after his landing with the members of the main mission to the International space station, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, not seen, near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. Padalka and Barratt are returning from six months onboard the International Space Station, along with Laliberte who arrived at the station on Oct. 2 with Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Maxim Suraev aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.(AP Photo/Sergei Remezov, Pool)

(AP) -- Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte on Tuesday called his 10-day space mission "a great success" because it drew attention to his efforts to guarantee access to clean water worldwide.

The Canadian billionaire told reporters at the training center outside Moscow that his trip to the International Station was an effective "marketing tool to put the One Drop Foundation on the map." The trip cost Laliberte $35 million.

The one-time stilt-walker and fire-eater said that he experienced only one scary moment during the his return trip to Earth, as the Soyuz capsule re-entered the atmosphere and plunged toward the planet.

Laliberte returned to Earth Sunday with Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and astronaut Michael Barratt.

Padalka jokingly told reporters that the crew aboard the space station enjoyed "complete freedom and democracy, except for anarchy," during Laliberte's stay there.

"Surprisingly, everything went smoothly," he said.

Barratt pointed out that he was for at time one of two physicians aboard the orbiting laboratory. "Having two doctors aboard was a bit dangerous for the crew," he joked in Russian.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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