MOSCOW – The Russian Soyuz capsule carrying Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte and two other space travelers landed safely in Kazakhstan Sunday, ending the entertainment tycoon's mirthful space odyssey.
Laliberte, who wore a bulbous clown nose during his stay aboard the International Space Station, was extracted from the tiny Soyuz capsule Sunday morning following its landing in the steppes of northern Kazakhstan.
Laliberte returned to Earth with Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, several hours after their capsule left the International Space Station.
Valery Lyndin, spokesman for Russian mission control, said the landing took place at 10:32 a.m. local time.
Russian television showed pictures of Padalka sitting outside the spacecraft eating an apple and drinking tea as ground crew extracted the other space travelers from the cramped capsule.
Laliberte emerged later, wearing his red clown nose as he reclined in a chair set up near the Soyuz capsule. Returning astronauts must rest after Soyuz landings in order to reacclimate to the Earth's gravity.
Later, the space travelers were taken to an orange medical tent, Russian TV showed. A Russian Orthodox priest was present for the landing.
While in space, Laliberte hosted a global Web broadcast to promote his crusade to preserve the world's water resources. Former U.S. vice president Al Gore, U2 and Shakira were among the entertainers and activists who participated back on Earth, performing in 14 cities on five continents.
Laliberte paid US$35 million to become Canada's first space tourist.
A six-member crew remain aboard the orbiting laboratory.