18 March 2015

Press Release: A4H Members Complete PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Training


March 18, 2015

A4H Members Complete PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Training

Titusville, Florida – Astronauts for Hire (A4H) would like to congratulate six of its members for completing the inaugural PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Qualification Program that was held from February 7-10, 2015 at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Project PoSSUM announced today that all graduation requirements for these candidates have been met. These members include:

  • Pete Freeland of Redondo Beach, CA
  • Jamie Guined of Houston, TX
  • Heidi Hammerstein of Pembroke, GA
  • Dr. Paul McCall of Hollywood, FL
  • Jonna Ocampo of Kapolei, HI
  • Jeffrey Scallon of Tampa, FL

“The A4H members who graduated from the program offered valuable operational insights that helped refine the curriculum for this new training program,” said Project PoSSUM Principal Investigator Dr. Jason Reimuller. “We are committed to provide opportunities where our graduates may conduct valuable scientific research on commercial spacecraft.”

The PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut program is a four-day training program designed in part by former NASA astronaut instructors to prepare scientists for potential missions through Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere). This project uses commercial suborbital spacecraft and high-altitude manned balloons to study rare noctilucent clouds that can help scientists address critical questions about the Earth’s climate. It evolved from the “Noctilucent Cloud Imagery and Tomography Experiment,” selected by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program in March 2012 as experiment 46-S.

Students in the program learned about upper-atmospheric science while participating in realistic mission simulations developed in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The simulations trained the candidates to effectively use PoSSUM imager systems to study noctilucent clouds during suborbital flight. In addition, candidates received comprehensive training in spacesuit operation, high-altitude and hypoxia awareness, and aerospace physiology.

“I feel very fortunate to be part of such a special opportunity,” remarked PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut candidate Pete Freeland. “This is an exciting time to be involved in spaceflight, and I am honored to help make a difference in our world through this groundbreaking research.”

The next PoSSUM scientist-astronaut class will occur at Embry-Riddle from October 10-14, 2015. Online applications are at www.projectpossum.org/register.

15 February 2015

Press Release: NewSpace Researchers Workshop to be held on May 4, 2015 in Houston


February 15, 2015

NewSpace Researchers Workshop to be held on May 4, 2015 in Houston

Titusville, Florida – The inaugural NewSpace Researchers Workshop (NSRW) will take place on May 4, 2015 at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in Houston, Texas. Held in conjunction with the Sea, Earth, and Space (SES) Summit, this event will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to develop successful research campaigns for parabolic, suborbital, or orbital flights. More information is available at http://nsrw2015.org.

"We developed this workshop to help researchers take practical steps to advance their projects from concept to flight," said A4H President and CEO Brian Shiro. "Networking among participants at the workshop will foster cross-disciplinary collaborations in science and engineering that will move the commercial space industry forward."

Commercial space industry experts will speak on topics ranging from flight platforms to funding strategies, science applications, and outreach opportunities. Breakout sessions will allow participants to share their specific projects and explore unanswered questions in small groups. All sessions of the NSRW will be live-streamed online, and recordings will be available for purchase afterward for those who cannot attend in person.

A free three-part Google Hangout webinar series prior to the meeting will help participants learn about flight opportunities and develop their research ideas. These include:

  • February 19, 2015 - Science research campaigns with guests Dr. Steven Collicott of Purdue University and Dr. Jason Reimuller of Project PoSSUM.
  • March 12, 2015 – Technology development with guests Steve Ord of the NASA Flight Opportunities Program and Ted Southern of Final Frontier Design.
  • April 2, 2015 - Citizen science and outreach with guests Stephen Heck of the Arete STEM Project and Edward Wright of Citizens in Space.

Registration for the NSRW is open. Early Bird registration pricing ends on March 1. Registrants of both the NRSW and SES Summit will receive a special $75 discount off SES Summit registration, and A4H members can register for the NSRW at the reduced price of only $75. Limited exhibitor and session sponsorships are available. For more information, please see http://nsrw2015.org.

31 December 2014

Happy New Year from A4H!

Dear friends,

On behalf of everyone at Astronauts for Hire (A4H), I wish you a joyful holiday and new year. May you reach for the stars and succeed in all of your 2015 goals!

2014 was a productive year for commercial space and for A4H. Companies like SpaceX, Boeing, and XCOR Aerospace achieved important milestones. The catastrophic losses with Orbital Sciences and Virgin Galactic have reminded everyone that spaceflight has risks. Triumph and tragedy alike teach us important lessons that help solidify the way forward.

Against this backdrop, A4H continues to grow its most important resource, its members, at a steady rate. With 170 people strong, our expanding network continues to have meaningful impacts in a variety of ways:

  • For the past nine months, A4H has taken an active role in the Urgency Network's Ticket to Rise campaign. Entrants into the contest earn chances to win a ride into space aboard the XCOR Lynx by supporting eligible non-profits. A4H has been one of the campaign's top performers, raising over $6500 to date. We humbly thank everyone who has contributed so far; your reward gifts will be in the mail soon. With the money raised, A4H will be rolling out a new website early in 2015 and launching programs aimed at kickstarting commercial spaceflight opportunities. There is still time to make a year-end gift on the Ticket to Rise website. Watch this space for exciting new developments in 2015!
  • Did you know that A4H went to space? On April 18, KickSat launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the CRS-3 mission. We were able to track the satellite’s telemetry as it orbited overhead with an amateur radio ground station. Unfortunately, KickSat burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere on May 13 before its master clock timer could deploy its 104 “Sprite” microsatellites, including the two that A4H had on board. The crowdfunded project was led by a Cornell University graduate student who says he will take the lessons learned and apply them to KickSat-2 in the future.

  • In August, we published Issue #6 of The A4H News, a semi-annual magazine on commercial space news and A4H activities. With tens of thousands of viewers, this publication has become one of our most effective ways of reaching a wide audience. We thank you for your readership. Advertising opportunities are available for the next issue. Stay tuned for Issue #7 coming in early 2015!

  • The A4H science working groups within A4H foster scholarship on topics ranging from aeromedicine to microgravity science and remote sensing. Members of these groups read and discuss journal articles, write about topics of interest, and incubate spaceflight experiment ideas. In late September, representatives from our life sciences working group presented a poster on space nutrition at the International Astronautical Congress in Toronto. More generally, A4H members frequently participate in a wide range of professional societies and conferences, serving as ambassadors for commercial spaceflight opportunities.

  • The tragic loss of SpaceShipTwo and her crew during a test flight on October 31 sent shockwaves through the space community. Along with thousands of others, A4H has expressed its sincerest condolences to the families of those affected. We have promoted initiatives such as Move Forward Together and the Michael Alsbury Memorial Fund to honor the sacrifice of the Scaled Composites pilot.

  • Finally, I am very proud to announce that A4H will host its first ever conference on April 30, 2015. The NewSpace Researchers Workshop (NSRW) will provide participants with knowledge and skills to develop research projects from ideas into flight experiments. Stay tuned for more details as we officially launch the workshop's website next month (now at nsrw2015.org)! The NSRW will occur in tandem with the Sea, Earth, and Space Summit (SES Summit) from May 1-3, 2015 in Houston, Texas. The summit will bring together bring together professionals from industry, government, and academia to explore the boundaries of human performance in the exploration of the sea, earth, and space. Registration is open now, and special pricing is available for A4H members. We encourage everyone to attend both events!

Moving into 2015, I am excited by what lies ahead. With a new membership website, a revised organizational structure that puts research first, and programs such as the New Space Researchers Workshop, A4H will re-invigorate the value it offers to its members and to the space industry in the year ahead. We will continue with outreach efforts to inspire would-be astronauts of all ages to pursue their dreams.

A4H is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit that relies upon volunteer efforts of our members, generosity of our sponsors, and collaboration with our partners to achieve our mission of expanding opportunities in the era of commercial spaceflight. If you believe in the transformational potential of A4H and want to support its innovative role in the commercial spaceflight industry, please consider making a tax-deductible year-end gift to help lay a strong foundation for A4H in 2014. You can click the "Donate" button on our website, give through Ticket to Rise, or contact us.

Thank you for your continued support of Astronauts for Hire and the growth of the commercial spaceflight industry!

Ad astra,
Brian Shiro
President & CEO
Astronauts for Hire