Monday, October 12, 2009

Cirque du Soleil’s, Guy Laliberté qualifies for Space Tourist Society’s Dennis Tito Award by Eileen Borgeson and Jeff Allen.

Visual: [First Dennis Tito Awards, Jeff Allen, Eileen Borgeson, Dennis Tito and Rick Searfoss.]

[Visual 2: Eileen Borgeson's Private Space Explorer Pin Rendering.]

Who would not be thrilled at the news that the founder of Cirque du Soleil would be honored by an award you were involved in creating? Both Eileen Borgeson and I had collaborated together designing the Dennis Tito Award for the heroic space tourists who train as astronauts and then visit the International Space Station (ISS).

We were both also very pleased to find out that Guy Laliberté, an artist, not a scientist, would host the First Poetic Social Mission in Space during his Sept 30 to Oct 11 visit to the ISS. His "Moving Stars and Earth for Water" took place on October 9, 2009 (GMT) in 14 cities on five continents simultaneously around the world. Each city had an "artistic moment" and unfolded with the presence of artists and world-renowned personalities, including: Al Gore, Peter Gabriel and U2.

How appropriate that John Spencer, helmsman of the Space Tourist Society (STS), was the person to tell Eileen and me that Guy Laliberté had just docked at the ISS an hour previously. We had called John to discuss Guy becoming the seventh honoree of the Dennis Tito Award.

During the historic 25th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC06) (Free Commemorative Poster Link:, Dennis Tito personally presented the first two Dennis Tito Awards to Gregory Olsen (second space tourist) and Mark Shuttleworth (third space tourist.) at the Orbit Awards Event. Mark’s award was accepted by two time commander of the Space Shuttle, Astronaut Colonel Rick Searfoss.

Dennis was then surprised with his own award by the artist Eileen Borgeson who was escorted by her collaborator on this award, me. (Link to video on Eileen and me displayed behind the stage before our presentation:

The Dennis Tito award is two tiered with four sculptures of Eileen’s featuring the Orbital Muse on the top. Eileen and I created the concept as well as the design. The award was assembled by the fine crafts persons at Saxton Industrial who also manufactured the three sculptures that supported the Orbital Muse. Saxton Industrial also sponsored the initial three Dennis Tito Awards for the ISDC06’s Orbit Awards event.

Guy Laliberté and the other three space tourists, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi (who went twice) and Richard Garriott will be honored with their own Dennis Tito Award at the next prestigious Orbit Awards event tentatively scheduled by the Space Tourism Society in 2011, the 10 year anniversary of Dennis Tito’s first flight to the ISS. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has also placed a $5,000,000 deposit for a trip to the ISS in 2011.

At the ISDC06 event, the ‘holographic crystal’ Orbit Awards, also created by Eileen and me, were awarded to significant astronauts, pioneers and entrepreneurs of the private space exploration community. The list of honorees, included: Buzz Aldrin, first man who walked on the moon, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, Richard Branson, of Virgin Galactic and everyone’s aeronautical hero, Burt Rutan, designer of the SpaceShip One. His SpaceShip One won the $10,000,000 Ansari X Prize for two consecutive Sub-Orbital Flight above 62 miles.

Eileen Borgeson is also designing a selection of Space Explorer Wings for private individuals who take an orbital flight around the Earth. The FAA has recently ruled that individuals reaching a height of 64 miles in space now qualify for their Astronaut Wings.

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