Cirque du Soleil productions are out of this world, and now its founder Guy Laiberte is literally in outer space. The billionaire Canadian, who paid to become a “space tourist,” blasted off into orbit on a Russian rocket on Wednesday, bound for a two-week visit to the International Space Station.

Laliberte, a former fire-eater and stiltwalker, took nine red clown noses into space — one for each member of the ISS crew — and has said he will not abandon his lighter side once in space. He told Reuters:

“I am going with my sense of humour. Even in serious things you need to leave a place for humour.”

On Oct. 9, Laliberte is planning to preside from the ISS over what he has called the first ever artistic mission from space which will take place in a dozen cities around the world and involve music, dancing and images. The event will be based on a poetic tale imagined by Laliberte and written by the Canadian author Yann Martel, who wrote the Booker Prize-winning novel “Life of Pi”. Laliberte says his mission has a serious aim — to raise awareness of global water shortages worldwide and to promote his foundation that works to preserve the earth’s freshwater reserves.