22 June 2010

A4H Endorses Open Letter To Congress On Commercial Space

Astronauts4Hire fully supports an open letter sent to Congress today by more than 50 space leaders, including our own Joseph Palaia. The letter urges Congress to fund the commercial crew to Space Station program and accelerate the pace of NASA's human exploration beyond Earth orbit.  These priorities are not mutually exclusive because a robust commercial crew and cargo program to low-Earth orbit will allow NASA to focus on deep space transportation and exploration systems.

Historically, governments have blazed the trail into new frontiers and paved the way for private enterprises to transform society. Queen Isabella publicly sponsored the voyage of Columbus, which in turn boosted worldwide trade. Thomas Jefferson publicly funded Lewis and Clark to venture west across North America, which opened the frontier for settlers 50 years later. Aviation is similar to human spaceflight; once airlines started competing to carry passengers farther and faster, prices went down, safety went up, and massive economic gain was generated as an emergent effect of this new industry. Opening space to commercial companies will do the same over time.

A4H is establishing itself as a leader in developing a pool of highly qualified astronauts who can be hired by companies as crewmembers on parabolic, suborbital, and orbital flights.  A4H plans to play a major role in the commercial crew initiative and in the process will actively reach out to students, inspiring them towards careers in space.

The full 10-page letter is available at SpaceRef.com or in PDF format from the Orlando Sentinel.

08 June 2010

A4H Ben Corbin at the Astronaut Hall of Fame

A4H Ben Corbin (right) with Astronaut Fred Haise (center)
Astronauts4Hire new recruit Ben Corbin attended the 2010 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Gala at the Kennedy Space Center this past weekend. Corbin, who is an Astronaut Scholarship recipient (2007-2008), also attended the pre-induction gala on Friday night, which included a dinner beneath the Saturn V rocket with many Hall of Fame astronauts from all U.S. human spaceflight programs. Astronauts attendees included Buzz Aldrin, Scott Carpenter, Walt Cunningham, Fred Haise, Owen Garriot, and Story Musgrave, among many others. This year’s inductees to the Astronaut Hall of Fame were Guion 'Guy' Bluford, Jr., Ken Bowersox, Frank Culbertson, Jr., and Kathy Thornton, all shuttle era astronauts. Corbin’s academic advisor, Jeffrey Hoffman, who is a Hall of Fame Astronaut, was also in attendance.

Corbin speaks with NASA Administrator Bolden.
On Saturday, the formal induction ceremony was held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex and was hosted by Jon Cryer, co-star of Two and a Half Men. During the post-induction reception, Corbin spoke with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and shared his support for the new administration’s space plan, specifically the support of commercial spaceflight and how this plan is inspirational to younger generations. Throughout the weekend, Corbin and the other Astronaut Scholars had the opportunity to share meals with the Hall of Fame astronauts and present their research projects in a small conference hosted by Fred Haise. More photos of the event can be found at FirstPhotoStudio.com.

When will the first commercial astronaut be inducted into the Hall of Fame?  Will he or she be a test pilot for one of the new private space vehicles, a space tourist/entrepreneur, or an Astronaut4Hire scientist?

07 June 2010

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire expands its team of Commercial Astronaut Candidates


June 7, 2010

Astronauts4Hire expands its team of Commercial Astronaut Candidates

Astronauts4Hire announced today that it has selected six new members, bringing the total number of commercial astronaut candidates in the organization to seventeen. The new Astronauts4Hire recruits bring a great depth of experience to the initiative to develop a pool of qualified commercial astronauts. Many of them are private pilots with a long resume of experience working in the aerospace industry and have extensive experience working in microgravity aboard parabolic flights. One new member is a professional triathlete and author of several books on the topic of astronaut training.

The new Astronauts4Hire are:
Astronauts4Hire is a Florida non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the competitiveness of commercial astronaut candidates by providing skills training, facilitating forums for candidate communication, engaging with potential employers, and inspiring the next generation. The organization is in the process of developing a pool of highly qualified and well-trained commercial astronauts to serve the emerging suborbital, and eventually orbital science industry.

For more information about Astronauts4Hire, its initial astronaut candidates, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit: www.astronauts4hire.org

05 June 2010

A4H on Bytemarks Cafe

Brian (center) with hosts & other guests
A4H co-founder and President Brian Shiro was a featured guest on the June 2 episode of Bytemarks Cafe, a weekly science and technology radio show produced by Hawaii Public Radio.  The discussion considered A4H in the wider context of both human and robotic space exploration and focused particularly on the relevance of space to Hawaii.

You can listen to the show in full below:

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04 June 2010

A4H Congratulates SpaceX

Astronauts4Hire wishes Elon Musk and all of the hard-working people at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) congratulations on the successful inaugural test launch of the Falcon 9 rocket. The vehicle's nine Merlin engines pushed it and a mockup of the Dragon spacecraft into orbit at 2:45pm today.  Telemetry showed the rocket's second stage and Dragon capsule hit "essentially a bullseye," according to Musk.  If you missed the live webcast, you can watch the launch video here:

Some A4H members viewed the Falcon 9 at Launch Complex 40 during tours associated with the STS-132 launch last month, and A4H's own Todd Romberger and Ben Corbin viewed the spectacle in person from KSC today.  We are excited about today's successful maiden launch because it signifies a major advance in commercial spaceflight.  Launch providers like SpaceX will provide routine access into low-Earth orbit, freeing NASA to explore elsewhere in the solar system.  Today's launch demonstrated that the private spaceflight industry may soon be ready to carry cargo and eventually astronauts into space.  In the process, access to destinations like the International Space Station and private space stations should become more affordable and routine.

02 June 2010

A4H at ISDC 2010

Team members discuss A4H with Buzz Aldrin
Astronauts4Hire Jim Crowell, Luis Saraiva, Ryan Kobrick, Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto, and new recruit Todd Romberger attended the National Space Society's International Space Development Conference (ISDC) held on May 27-31 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference allowed members to meet face-to-face and discuss the future of A4H.  It also provided an excellent forum for networking with others in the space community to increase awareness of A4H and it's mission. The group discussed A4H with Buzz Aldrin and several prominent members of the suborbital community including Dave Masten, President/CEO of Masten Space Systems, Jeff Feige, CEO of Orbital Outfitters, and Rick Homans, Director of Spaceport America.

The numerous talks and panels attended by the A4H team showed the incredible progress being made by the suborbital spaceflight industry. Masten Space Systems, Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic all reported on their latest flight tests.  2011 will be a big year as many of the vehicles complete testing and become fully operational.  By 2012, regular commercial suborbital spaceflights should be a reality.

Luis and Todd with Dave Masten
Howard Chipman showcased the astronaut training program being offered by Aurora Aerospace, and Steven Collicott presented suborbital research opportunities discussed at the 2010 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, which was the focusing event that led to the founding of A4H.

ISDC was an extremely valuable experience for the A4H team. They were motivated by the promise of the space community and look forward to building upon the contacts and relationships gained.