31 May 2011

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire Announces TargetProcess Sponsorship


May 31, 2011

Astronauts4Hire Announces TargetProcess Sponsorship

Tampa, Florida – Astronauts4Hire is pleased to announce its sponsorship by TargetProcess, Inc., an agile project management software provider. As part of the sponsorship, Astronauts4Hire is receiving complimentary licenses for TargetProcess’s online project management system. Astronauts4Hire uses TargetProcess to track tasks and concentrate on applying members’ volunteered time in the most productive way.

"We are an organization spread across the United States, Canada and Europe, so communication and structured collaboration are essential to our daily business," said Astronauts4Hire Chief Technology Officer Amnon Govrin. "The customizability of TargetProcess’s On-Demand service have allowed us to adapt it to our unique needs."

TargetProcess Vice President of Business Development Andrey Mihailenko praised the Astronauts4Hire implementation of TargetProcess software, noting that "Astronauts4Hire is a great test case demonstrating that TargetProcess is adaptable to fit organizations with needs other than engineering or software development. We are extremely excited to be part of such a great program and be able to contribute to its success."

For their in-kind donation of software licenses worth $15,000, TargetProcess becomes Astronauts4Hire's first Lunar Level sponsor. In return for the sponsorship, Astronauts4Hire will proudly display the TargetProcess logo on its website and on the flight suits its members wear during their training and flight activities. TargetProcess also has the option to invite an Astronaut4Hire member to come speak at a company event.

25 May 2011

Seedhouse Completes High-G Jet Training

Adding to his recent high altitude and G-tolerance training, A4H member Dr. Erik Seedhouse completed unusual attitude training in a BAE Hawk 115 at 15 Wing of the Canadian Forces Base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The training allowed him to develop aerobatic skills to track and control aircraft motion paths during unusual attitudes and high G-forces.  His first-hand account of the exciting activity follows.

At 0700 on 17th May I went to the Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) office for my G-suit fitting which took about 30 minutes. After being fitted, the G-suit was tested on a rig to make sure the thing inflated properly.  Once that was done I moved on to the helmet fit.  Then, it was time for a review of how the parachute works – how to steer, when to release the survival pack (that's the yellow pack you can under my backside), and what to do if you have 'twists'.

Next, it was time to visit the ejection seat trainer and take an ALSE exam on what to do and not do in the event of an ejection.

After all the ALSE preparation, I waited until the next day for the Hawk flight. The Hawk can reach Mach 0.88 in level flight and Mach 1.15 in a dive. The airframe is stressed for +9 g, but the normal service limit service is +7.5/-4 g. My flight was scheduled at 0855 on Wednesday. My pilot was a German exchange pilot – Hank - who had 3000 hours in the Hawk. We listened to the METAR weather report and had the flight brief before getting suited up and walking out to the aircraft: I was grinning like Cheshire cat!

We had lifted off and within seconds were flying at 500 knots. It was surreal, because there was hardly a sound and the jet was solid as a rock – no buffetting. Nothing!. Hank gave a running commentary of what he was doing as he cranked on the speed – 530, 540, 550. Beautiful. Above the clouds at 12,000 feet, he handed me control. Awesome – that was why that word was created by the way – to describe moments just like this – absolutely awesome. I flew some tight G turns and generally flew around the area before handing the controls back to Hank who demonstrated the high G onset – 6.5 G’s in less than half a second. Wow! The 1.3 hours went by way too fast. What a ride!

18 May 2011

More Space Beer News

Astronauts4Hire received global media attention in major TV, radio, print, and online news outlets following our September 2010 announcement that Vostok Pty Ltd had hired us to conduct microgravity flight tests of their new space beer.  After some flight schedule changes, we successfully carried out the first space beer test in February 2011, completing our first research contract as "astronauts for hire."  Several news outlets took note of this accomplishment, including Fox News, Discovery News, MSNBC, Slashdot, FOOD Magazine, Beer and Brewer Magazine, and Hemispheres Magazine (on United/Continental Airlines).

Hot on the heels of the successful final launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission, a new Reuters article titled "Australian beer hopes to boldly go into space" is making waves in the current news cycle.  Drawing upon interviews with Jaron Mitchell of the 4 Pines Brewery and Dr. Jason Held of Saber Astronautics Australia, as well as footage of the Astronauts4Hire Flight Member conducting the experiment, the video that accompanies the Reuters article does a great job explaining the goals and methods behind the project.

The Reuters article has spurred a windfall of new stories appearing so far in CBS News, Fox News, PRI's The World, Sydney Morning Herald, Toronto Sun, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian, New Scientist, Forbes, InnovationNewsDaily, Space.com, MSNBC, Discovery News, NTDTV, and CNTV.

A4H thanks the Vostok Space Beer partners for the opportunity to contribute to such a historic project.  The Principal Investigator of the experiment Dr. Jason Held had this to say about A4H:

We hired Astronauts4Hire to support our first microgravity flight experiment because of the demonstrated experience of their team and their ability to accomplish the job...  A4H delivered everything with consummate professionalism and diligence, with the attention to detail expected from medical and aerospace field research.  Thank you A4H!

If you have an experiment that needs tending or a product that needs testing in microgravity, A4H's versatile team of researchers is up for the challenge.

07 May 2011

A4H in Discover Magazine

The June 2011 issue of Discover Magazine includes a 2-page spread called "After the Shuttle: Astronauts for Hire." Featuring interviews with A4H President Brian Shiro and former NASA astronaut Ken Bowersox (now of SpaceX), the article focuses on how the astronaut profession is changing in the post-Shuttle era.  It highlights one of the most important reasons we started Astronauts4Hire in the first place: to recruit and train the next generation of astronauts for the new age of commercial spaceflight.  The article is available on newsstands now.  We thank Discover for taking an interest in A4H and the future of human spaceflight.

Other articles featuring A4H, including last year's New Scientist interview and the widespread media attention paid to our first job, are listed on our Media page.