24 December 2012

Happy Holidays from A4H

Dear friends of Astronauts4Hire,

Reflecting back upon 2012, I am impressed by the strides Astronauts4Hire has made to firmly establish itself as an important leader in the commercial spaceflight industry. Our primary mission is to build the next generation astronaut workforce by providing skills training, networking, and other professional development opportunities to aspiring commercial astronauts. As a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, we rely upon the volunteer efforts of our members, generosity of our sponsors, and collaboration with our partners to meet our goals. With your help, we have achieved a lot in the past year, including:

Looking ahead, we will continue to mature our training program, advance partnerships to facilitate space research, and provide inspiration to aspiring astronauts of all ages. If you believe in the exciting potential of A4H and want to support our 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 2013. Just click the "Donate" button on our website, or contact us.

On behalf of everyone at Astronauts4Hire, I wish you a happy holiday season and successful new year!

Warm regards,
Brian Shiro
President & CEO, Astronauts4Hire

26 October 2012

Seedhouse on The Space Show

Earlier this week, A4H Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse was the featured guest on The Space Show where he discussed his new book Astronauts for Hire: The Emergence of the Commercial Astronaut Corps (ISBN 978-1-4614-0519-1), which has been available since April 2012. The interview covers suborbital and orbital spaceflight, aeromedical issues, training, safety, and the activities of the A4H organization. It's an engaging conversation that we proudly recommend to anyone interested in commercial spaceflight.

Listen to the show here:

03 July 2012

A4H Newsletter Issue #3

We are proud to present Astronauts4Hire's third quarterly newsletter The A4H News. Highlights in this issue include interviews with A4H Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jason Reimuller and NASA astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle, recaps of recent A4H activities - including the successful Vital Space microgravity research flights - and the most important news in the commercial spaceflight industry.

Click below to view the newsletter in full screen mode, or download the PDF.

Like this? Sign up to receive email notifications for future issues of The A4H News, or contact us to learn about advertising opportunities.

Did you miss the first two issues of the newsletter? View them here and here!

23 June 2012

A4H and Vital Space in the news

On our recent NASA-funded parabolic flights with partner Vital Space, A4H helped evaluate Sotera Wireless's new FDA-approved biomedical monitoring system in the microgravity environment in order to advance the safety of spaceflight for everyone. The first news media stories associated with A4H's second parabolic research project are out, and we'd like to share them with you.

The principal investigators of the study doctors Komatireddy and Barrett from the Scripps Translational Science Institute were on three local news programs this week talking about the project's goals to better understand and monitor the human body's response to spaceflight. Their live interviews include footage of A4H flight members Reimuller and Shiro testing the Sotera device in microgravity. You can watch all three video segments below:

KUSI TV Good Morning San Diego (also watch on YouTube):

KGTV ABC 10 News San Diego (text here, also watch on YouTube):

KSWD FOX 5 News San Diego (text here, also watch on YouTube):

29 May 2012

Press Release: Advancing safe space flight for everyone, Vital Space and Astronauts4Hire test innovative Biometric Monitoring Platform in Zero Gravity


May 29, 2012

Advancing safe space flight for everyone, Vital Space and Astronauts4Hire test innovative Biometric Monitoring Platform in Zero Gravity

Houston, Texas – Vital Space and Astronauts4Hire completed a 4-day flight research campaign consisting of 160 microgravity parabolas to validate ViSi Mobile, a cutting-edge FDA-approved vital sign monitoring system. Astronauts4Hire flight members Jason Reimuller and Brian Shiro provided operational expertise and served as subjects in the study, which aims to leverage emerging innovations in mobile health technology for spaceflight applications.

"Commercial spaceflight participants present a variety of opportunities for new biomedical research," said the project Principal Investigator Dr. Ravi Komatireddy, a KL2 clinician scholar in wireless medicine at the Scripps Translational Science Institute trained in Internal Medicine. "This flight campaign lays the groundwork for future experiments that aim to create new risk models, establish training or certification standards, link with existing medical records, and complement existing medical research and evaluation in space using innovative sensor technology."

Paddy Barrett, Jason Reimuller, and Justin Buckingham operating the
ViSi Mobile in zero gravity. Image Credit: NASA
The team tested the innovative ViSi MobileTM System from Sotera Wireless, Inc. This platform leverages recent advances in wireless medical technology to monitor critical, physiological metrics such as blood pressure, arterial hemoglobin oxygen saturation, heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature, and multi-lead electrocardiogram.

The experiment involved a comprehensive hardware test to examine basic device functionality and usability. Test subjects performed a variety of activities to simulate normal and emergency medical use cases expected in the space environment. Vital Space partner MEDgle will use sophisticated analytics to analyze data.

"SpaceX's recent successful launch and docking with the International Space Station harkens to the approaching age of commercial spaceflight," remarked A4H President Brian Shiro. "We are excited to contribute to the Vital Space effort, which has the potential to increase health and safety for a wider demographic of space flyers and expand access to the space frontier."

"Sotera's mission is to keep people safe by detecting early signs of potential deterioration in virtually any setting," said Dr. Gunnar Trommer, VP Marketing for Sotera Wireless. "Since we are a high-technology company, why would that be limited to healthcare facilities or even the ground? If one wants to explore the limits of a product, it needs to be challenged under extreme conditions. If it works in zero-gravity, you know that it will work under normal conditions too."

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program under the Space Technology Program funded the flight campaign, which was facilitated by NASA’s Reduced Gravity Office in Ellington Field, Texas.

13 April 2012

Moonandback Interview

Last week Moonandback.com posted a 4-part interview filmed with A4H President Brian Shiro at the NSRC 2012 conference in Palo Alto, California. The interview covered topics related to the Astronauts4Hire organization and Shiro's personal astronaut ambitions. Moonandback has generously allowed us to included all four videos here for your viewing convenience.

Part 1: Astronauts4Hire

Part 2: The Right Stuff

Part 3: One Astronaut’s Path

Part 4: Bettering the Long Odds

03 April 2012

Press Release: "Astronauts for Hire" Book Available Now


April 3, 2012

"Astronauts for Hire" Book Available Now

Tampa, Florida – Human spaceflight is no longer the sole preserve of professional astronauts working on government-funded space programs. As private companies build and operate launch new vehicles, a new breed of astronaut is coming into being – the commercial astronaut. Astronauts4Hire (A4H) Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse’s ninth book titled Astronauts for Hire: The Emergence of the Commercial Astronaut Corps (ISBN 978-1-4614-0519-1) explores how this new breed of astronaut will be selected and trained, providing a unique insight into the kinds of missions and tasks that commercial astronauts will perform.

"Astronauts for Hire will serve as a handbook and reference guide for the nascent commercial spaceflight industry and as a guidebook for research institutions and academia seeking to employ commercial astronauts," said author Erik Seedhouse. "It will provide spaceflight enthusiasts with a unique insight into and understanding of how the spaceflight industry will be revolutionized by the emergence of a commercial astronaut corps."

The 243-page book Astronauts for Hire: The Emergence of the Commercial Astronaut Corps is published by Springer Praxis Books in its series on Space Exploration. It is available in both softcover and eBook formats wherever Springer Praxis books are sold. The table of contents and samples of the book are available on the SpringerLink website at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-1-4614-0519-1

The book is divided into three sections. The first part describes how the A4H organization came into being and its vision for opening the space frontier to commercial astronauts. It highlights the tantalizing science opportunities routine suborbital and orbital flights will provide and goes on to describe the training and qualification necessary for budding professional commercial astronauts. The section concludes by introducing the reader to the A4H qualification process and training programs.

The second section describes the new fleet of reusable commercial spaceships being developed that will offer quick, routine, and affordable access to the edge of space. These vehicles have the capability to carry research and education crewmembers, including “astronauts for hire.” Examining some of these specific vehicles, the book describes the hurdles the space industry must overcome before the hiring of commercial astronauts can develop into a profitable economic entity. It also provides positive suggestions on how the commercial spaceflight industry can plan and prepare for the challenges of marketing and financing the hiring of astronauts.

Looking to the future, the book’s third and final section describes the types of missions the new corps of astronauts will fly and the customers who will employ them. It begins with an assessment of suborbital flights to carry out a variety of high-altitude science studies and moves on to examine orbital science missions on commercial trips to low Earth orbit. It concludes with speculation on ways future commercial astronauts could support private enterprises at interplanetary spaceports, lunar bases, and outposts on the surface of Mars.

30 March 2012

A4H Newsletter Issue #2

We are proud to present Astronauts4Hire's second quarterly newsletter The A4H News. Highlights in this issue include interviews with A4H Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse and former astronaut Col. Jim Voss, an announcement of the new book Astronauts for Hire, recaps of recent A4H activities, and the most important news in the commercial spaceflight industry.

Click below to view the newsletter in full screen mode, or download the PDF.

Like this? Sign up to receive email notifications for future issues of The A4H News, or contact us to learn about advertising opportunities.

Did you miss the first issue of the newsletter? Check it out here!

23 March 2012

Women in Aerospace

In celebration of Women's History Month, NASA conducted a one day conference titled "Women, Innovation and Aerospace" (WIA) at George Washington University on March 8th. A4H Associate Member Kavya Manyapu represented Boeing at the event, which highlighted women's contributions to innovation and progress in the aerospace community. The conference also focused on issues and challenges faced by women in the aerospace workforce, which is primarily dominated by men. The aim of the conference was to inspire and encourage young girls to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions. In the photo below, Kayva (right) and her colleague are pictured with NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden.

According to a 2010 National Science Board study, women comprise less than 25% of the workforce in STEM fields. Women@NASA comprise one third of the space agency's employees, making NASA one of the largest employers of women aerospace professionals. However, only 53 of the 500 astronauts who have flown in space were women. Therefore, it is imperative that an effort be made to not only encourage young women into STEM fields but also to break down existing workforce barriers using innovative strategies to inspire, recruit, and retain women in STEM careers.

10 March 2012

NSRC 2012

The 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) was held in Palo Alto, California last week. Like its predecessors that gave rise to Astronauts4Hire (A4H), this year's NSRC provided a stimulating environment for approximately 450 attendees to discuss research and educational applications on suborbital vehicles. A record 34 organizations, including A4H, sponsored the meeting, which boasted a rare keynote address by Apollo Astronaut and X-15 Test Pilot Neil Armstrong, who is pictured with A4H Flight Members Seedhouse, Shiro, Altman, and Reimuller below. Armstrong's participation in the conference signified the growing relevance and importance of suborbital spaceflight.

More than a dozen A4H members and partners presented on a number of topics ranging from A4H's two years of remarkable growth to its commercial astronaut training programs. It seemed like hardly a session at the meeting passed without someone affiliated with A4H presenting. The photos below highlight talks given by Brian Shiro and Dr. Erik Seedhouse and posters presented by Dr. Mindy Howard and Brian Shiro with their co-authors. A full listing of A4H-related presentations given at NSRC is in our January 24 press release.



27 February 2012

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire Announces its Commercial Astronaut Training Programs


February 27, 2012

Astronauts4Hire Announces its Commercial Astronaut Training Programs

Palo Alto, California – After more than a year of development, Astronauts for Hire (A4H) is proud to announce its proposed training programs for Research Specialist Astronauts and Operations Specialist Astronauts. These programs, which were developed by the nonprofit in close consultation with former NASA astronauts and astronaut instructors, are the most comprehensive commercial scientist-astronaut training guidelines available in the world.

"Astronauts for Hire is proud to have integrated the expertise of experienced spaceflight professionals and top-notch training providers into a comprehensive, yet cost-effective, training program that will produce the world’s best-prepared commercial scientist-astronauts," remarked A4H Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jason Reimuller. "We will publish a full description of the training qualifications in a peer-reviewed journal and thorough training manual later this year." Interested reviewers of the draft manuscripts are encouraged to contact A4H by April 2012.

A4H Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse, who has authored books on astronaut training, led the collaborative initiative to develop A4H’s training program. "Space is a dangerous and extreme environment that leaves little to no room for error, or time to correct for mistakes," said Seedhouse. "To test how quickly and creatively our astronauts can think and work with others under life-threatening conditions, they must train across multiple realistic environments."

A4H astronaut candidates follow a progressive, integrated training program, conducted in safe analog environments that emphasize the ability to perform missions effectively during all phases of flight as well as in emergency contingencies. Those selected as A4H astronaut candidates possess a unique combination of established scientific expertise, broad technical and operational skills, a history showing adaptability in challenging environments. Individuals then qualified as A4H astronauts are fully trained to meet the needs of the research and education market.

Research Specialist Astronauts are trained to be effective payload operators. They must hold a Masters degree or equivalent from an accredited institution in a relevant field of science or engineering. Training elements include centrifuge training to prepare for launch and reentry, microgravity training on parabolic flights, high altitude training to identify personal hypoxia symptoms, distraction avoidance training, unusual attitude training using aerobatic aircraft to develop spatial awareness in flight, emergency egress training to prepare for an off-nominal landing, a personal space motion sickness assessment, basic SCUBA certification for experience in a space analog environment, and completion of academic modules covering the space environment, human performance, life support systems, and spacecraft systems engineering.

Operations Specialist Astronauts will be qualified to support a wide range of mission objectives beyond payload operation. They will manage and oversee mission operations, prioritize operational and research objectives, help operate spacecraft systems, handle emergencies, and ensure the overall success of a mission and the safety of those on board. Operations Specialist candidates undergo a much broader training program compared with Research Specialists. In addition to meeting all Research Specialist requirements, the candidate must earn a Private Pilot certificate, complete aerobatic training geared around adaptability to rapidly changing G-environments, train for land and sea survival, earn advanced SCUBA certification at the Master Diver level or equivalent, obtain space motion sickness desensitization training, maintain current emergency first responder certification or equivalent, and complete a comprehensive selection of academic modules focusing on a wide breadth of knowledge including crew management, mission planning and operations, science applications, spacecraft subsystems, and navigation.

A4H Flight Members completing either training program will earn silver A4H wings corresponding to the appropriate qualification, which will be upgraded to gold wings upon the completion of their first space flights. Any person who completes all A4H training elements and has not been formally selected as an A4H Flight Member may petition for recognition of the training, which will result in the awarding of bronze wings. The first class of A4H astronaut candidates underwent training in July 2011, and those qualified as Research Specialist Astronauts will be announced by Summer 2012.

22 February 2012

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire and Vital Space Team Up for Biometric Monitoring Flights


February 22, 2012

Astronauts4Hire and Vital Space Team Up for Biometric Monitoring Flights

Tampa, Florida – Astronauts4Hire and partner company Vital Space will test a new biometric monitoring system designed for use by spaceflight participants on a May 2012 reduced gravity parabolic flight campaign in Houston, Texas. They will undergo up to four flights with 40 parabolas each granting 25 seconds of near zero-gravity. The project is facilitated by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, to which Vital Space and Astronauts4Hire submitted a successful joint proposal chosen by NASA in October 2011 titled, "A demonstrated application of a cost effective and novel platform for non-invasive acquisition of physiologic variables from spaceflight participant candidates."

"The growth of suborbital spaceflight reflects a unique opportunity to capture and quantify the physiologic variables related to human performance in demanding environments," said Vital Space President and project Principal Investigator Dr. Ravi Komatireddy. "Given recent advancements in wireless medical devices, real time acquisition and monitoring of physiologic data is now possible. We are proud to be working with Astronauts4Hire to test the ViSi MobileTM Monitoring Platform for use by spaceflight participants."

The ViSi MobileTM System from Sotera Wireless has the capability to reliably capture critical physiological metrics such as continuous noninvasive blood pressure, arterial oxygen saturation, heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature and multi-lead electrocardiogram. Additional data from integrated accelerometers and a display will be used to remotely view, control, and assess physiologic response.

The upcoming initial parabolic flight tests will be used to collect performance and operational data on Astronauts4Hire research subjects, under direct supervision of members of the Vital Space team. The data will aid in the assessment of preflight fitness, in-flight physiological dynamics, and post-flight physiological recovery for spaceflight participants.

The May 2012 flights will be Astronauts4Hire's second microgravity research project. In February 2011, Astronauts4Hire carried out its first research flight with Vostok Pty Ltd to investigate the effects of alcohol absorption in microgravity.

24 January 2012

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire Sponsors 2012 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference


January 24, 2012

Astronauts4Hire Sponsors 2012 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference

Tampa, Florida – Astronauts4Hire is pleased to announce that it has become a sponsor of the 2012 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort in Palo Alto, California from February 27-29, 2012. The NSRC will bring together researchers from government, industry, and academia in the largest forum of its kind focused on the research and education capabilities of new suborbital vehicles.

"Astronauts4Hire grew out of NSRC-2010 and was a NSRC-2011 sponsor," said Brian Shiro, President and CEO of Astronauts4Hire, "so it is fitting that we will once again support the suborbital research community by sponsoring the NSRC-2012. This will be a prime opportunity for A4H to demonstrate how far it's come in its second year and where it's going in the future."

Several members and partners of Astronauts4Hire will attend the conference, giving presentations on a range of topics, including the following:

06 January 2012

A4H Newsletter Issue #1

The first issue of The A4H News is here!  Learn more about where we come from, where are we headed, and how can you help! Highlights of this issue include interviews with A4H President Brian Shiro and former astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski, along with recaps of A4H activities and the most important news in the commercial spaceflight industry.

Click below to view the newsletter in full screen mode, or download the PDF.

Like this? Sign up to receive email notifications for future issues of The A4H News, or contact us to learn about advertising opportunities. We wish everyone all the best in 2012!