24 December 2013

Season's Greetings from A4H!

Dear friends,

We want to wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year! With your support, Astronauts for Hire (A4H) had a successful 2013 as it continued to help 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. Some of A4H's achievements over the past year included:

In 2014, we will continue to advance activities that 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 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. Just click the "Donate" button on our website, or contact us.

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

With warm regards,
Brian Shiro
President & CEO
Astronauts for Hire

15 November 2013

A4H Newsletter Issue #5

Astronauts for Hire's fifth newsletter The A4H News is now available! Highlights in this issue include interviews with the new 2013 A4H Flight Member Class, Industry Leader interview with Janna Kaplan from SIRIUS Astronaut Training, recaps of A4H activities in the past few months, a preview of A4H Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse's latest book SpaceX, and exciting news bits from the commercial spaceflight industry.

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

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Did you miss the first four issues of the newsletter? View them here:

20 September 2013

Press Release: Astronauts for Hire Announces Youth Art Contest as part of World Space Week 2013


September 20, 2013

Astronauts for Hire Announces Youth Art Contest as part of World Space Week 2013

Tampa, Florida – To help inspire the next generation of space explorers, Astronauts for Hire (A4H) is proud to host an art contest in association with World Space Week 2013. The future of space exploration and human spaceflight will be determined by the children of today, and it is never too early to spark their imaginations through creative self-expression. A4H welcome art submissions from youth age 17 and under that answer any of the following questions:

"Where in space would you like to go?"
"What will you do in space?"
"How would you live on Mars?"

Entries can be submitted at http:/forms.astronauts4hire.org/ArtContest from September 20, 2013 through October 20, 2013 (Deadline extended to October 31, 2013). Artwork can be any medium (pencil, crayon, marker, paint, sculpture, photo, video, etc.) but must be captured in a digital format that can be put online. All entries will be reviewed by A4H prior to display on the A4H Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Astronauts4Hire. Winning entries and awards will be announced on the A4H website the week after the contest concludes.

04 July 2013

A busy month of A4H training

Hot on the heels of NSRC 2013, A4H members came together to participate in several training activities throughout the month of June.  First, Flight Members Ben Corbin and Jim Crowell completed Basic Suborbital Space Training at the NASTAR Center, where they built up their personal G-tolerance on simulated spaceflights in the PHOENIX Centrifuge, learned about high altitude physiology through an hypobaric chamber ride, and participated in several other academic lectures related to the aerospace environment in order to maximize their preparation for spaceflight. Associate Member David Attig joined Ben and Jim to complete high altitude training.


Then, Flight Members Dr. Mindy Howard and Kristine Ferrone completed Sensorimotor Human Factors Training at SIRIUS Astronaut Training. The 2-day "Protocol A" program focuses on preparing for the inevitable spatial disorientation, sensory illusions, movement errors, and motion sickness most people will experience on space flights. Academic lectures were followed by practical training in the facility's Multi-Axis Rotation and Tilt (MART) device, the Rotating Room, the Vection Chamber and treadmill. The understanding and awareness Mindy and Kristine acquired through this training helps them to understand their own individual symptomology in order to maximize their efficiency, productivity, and comfort on spaceflights.


Next, Kristine was joined by fellow Flight Members Dr. Jose Hurtado and Ben Corbin at Survival Systems USA (SSUSA) for underwater emergency egress training through SSUSA's Dunker Training Course. The program teaches participants how to handle aircraft ditching emergencies with and without supplemental oxygen and how to survive at sea until help arrives. Practical elements of the training included inverted escape from the Shallow Water Egress Trainer (SWET) followed by evacuation from the Modular Egress Training Simulator (METS). Since more than two thirds of the Earth is covered with water, chances are an abort scenario could result in an unplanned spacecraft water landing. This training taught Kristine, Jose, and Ben how to remain calm under such life-threatening situations.


While Jose, Ben, and Kristine were busy learning how to suppress their natural fear of drowning, Associate Member Dr. Karina Descartin participated in the NASTAR Center’s AeroSpace Medicine Lab Course. The 5-day course went beyond the centrifuge and altitude training elements to also include spatial disorientation, night vision, ejection seat, distraction factor, and survival training in order to demonstrate the physiological stresses of flight for aerospace medicine students and professionals.


Finally, the busy month of training was rounded out with Flight Member Joseph Palaia's preparations for two exciting missions. He underwent aerobatic, unusual attitude, and ejection seat training for an upcoming flight on a F-104 Starfighter jet with Starfighters Aerospace. Later this summer, Palaia will fly as a payload operator for the DART (Dust Altitude Recovery Technology) system to collect high altitude dust from the upper troposphere and return it for microbial study. In the meantime, Joe has just embarked on an expedition to the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the Canadian High Arctic, where he is commanding a crew on a 2-week mission to upgrade the simulated Mars habitat facility in preparation for a year-long mission to begin in summer 2014. We wish him and his team well!

Congratulations to everyone on a successful month of training!

12 June 2013

NSRC 2013

The electrifying atmosphere of the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) filled us with great expectations for the coming year.  This year's suborbital science meeting had some big shoes to fill after featuring a keynote by Neil Armstrong last year, but it did not disappoint.  NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver surprised everyone by revealing that the Flight Opportunities Program is not excluding the possibility of funding human researchers on suborbital flights!  Virgin Galactic announced selling more tickets for flights on their suborbital vehicle than people who have gone to space.  XCOR Aerospace continued its strong support research and education missions, offering a 2-for-1 payload deal for NSRC participants. These were just a few of the exciting developments that emerged at the 2013 NSRC.

Astronauts for Hire (A4H) members presented on many subjects, ranging from how A4H empowers suborbital research to how to hire A4H members for suborbital science missions. A4H partners from SIRIUS Astronaut Training, The NASTAR Center, and Vital Space also presented at the conference on abstracts co-authored with A4H members. In total, A4H members and partners presented on over a dozen topics, which are listed in our May 28 press release. Flight Members Erik Seedhouse and Luis Zea are shown below presenting on behalf of A4H at the meeting:


03 June 2013

Press Release: Astronauts for Hire Adds Six New Commercial Astronaut Candidates


June 3, 2013

Astronauts for Hire Adds Six New Commercial Astronaut Candidates

Broomfield, Colorado – Astronauts for Hire (A4H) proudly announces the selection of its fourth group of commercial scientist-astronaut candidates. The six new recruits were selected through a rigorous process from a pool of 85 highly qualified applicants from 14 countries who responded to the nonprofit organization’s March 2013 call for applications.

"The selection of the new class of A4H flight members marks our commitment to a future important role in the commercial spaceflight arena," said A4H Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse. "The A4H selection committee was inspired by the outstanding talent we saw in the candidates who applied to become flight members, and we wish the new class well in their training. These flight members will continue to motivate and inspire those who want to reach for their dreams."

The six new flight members chosen in this selection campaign are accomplished professionals representing diverse fields of science, engineering, medicine, and aviation.

They join A4H's existing flight members in training to become Research Specialist and Operations Specialist Astronauts for future commercial spaceflight research mission opportunities.

28 May 2013

Press Release: Astronauts for Hire at the 2013 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference


May 28, 2013

Astronauts for Hire at the 2013 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference

Broomfield, Colorado – Astronauts for Hire (A4H) is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the 2013 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) to be held at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado from June 3-5, 2013. The annual NSRC event brings together researchers from government, industry, and academia in the largest forum of its kind focused on the research and education capabilities of next-generation suborbital vehicles.

"I am very happy that A4H is a sponsor of NSRC for the third year in a row," said A4H President and CEO Brian Shiro. "Our organization grew out of the need for trained research payload specialists that was conveyed at the first NSRC in 2010, so it is fitting that we give back to the suborbital research community that has given so much to us."

Several members and partners of A4H will attend the conference and present on a range of topics, including the following:

  • Sunday, June 2, 7:30-9:00pm MDT (Lobby)
    Poster: “Astronauts4Hire: Empowering Suborbital Research” by Brian Shiro and Jason Reimuller. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Shiro_abstract.pdf
  • Sunday, June 2, 7:30-9:00pm MDT (Lobby)
    Poster: “An Alternative Approach to Suborbital Astronaut Training” by Erik Seedhouse. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Seedhouse_abstract2.pdf
  • Sunday, June 2, 7:30-9:00pm MDT (Lobby)
    Poster: “Bridging the Gap: The Role of the Fitness Professional in the Commercial Spaceflight Industry” by Jamie Guined and Roxanne Buxton. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Guined_abstract1.pdf
  • Sunday, June 2, 7:30-9:00pm MDT (Lobby)
    Poster: “Fit for Flight: Fitness & Medical Screening in Commercial Spaceflight Tourism” by Jamie Guined and Roxanne Buxton. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Guined_abstract2.pdf
  • Monday, June 3, 3:00-4:30pm MDT (http://www.thespaceshow.com/)
    Interview: Brian Shiro will be Dr. David Livingston’s guest on The Space Show. Listeners can call toll-free at 1-866-687-7223 or email drspace[at]thespaceshow.com.
  • Monday, June 3, 4:00-4:15pm MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “Astronaut Performance during Gravitoinertial Force Transitions: a SIRIUS Approach to Suborbital Flight Training” by Janna Kaplan, et al. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Kaplan_abstract.pdf
  • Monday, June 3, 4:30-4:45pm MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “Is Radiation Exposure an Important Issue in Suborbital Human Spaceflight?” by Kris Lehnhardt and Marcelo Vazquez. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Lehnhardt_abstract2.pdf
  • Monday, June 3, 5:15-5:30pm MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “Lessons Learned from Parabolic Flight Testing A Novel Wireless Medical Biomonitoring System” by Ravi Komatireddy, et al. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Komatireddy_abstract.pdf
  • Tuesday, June 4, 5:00-5:15pm MDT (Room D)
    Presentation: “How to Hire A4H Astronauts for Suborbital Science Missions” by Erik Seedhouse, Brian Shiro, and Jason Reimuller. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Seedhouse_abstract1.pdf
  • Tuesday, June 4, 5:15-5:30pm MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “The Role of Footwear on Running Gait in a Microgravity Environment” by Kris Lehnhardt. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Lehnhardt_abstract1.pdf
  • Wednesday, June 5, 9:00-9:15am MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “A Training Roadmap for Commercial Suborbital Spaceflight Participants” by Mindy Howard, Brienna Henwood, and Ben McGee. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Howard_abstract.pdf
  • Wednesday, June 5, 10:45-11:00am MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “The PoSSUM Campaign: Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere” by Jason Reimuller, et al. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Reimuller_abstract1.pdf
  • Wednesday, June 5, 11:00-11:15am MDT (Room A)
    Presentation: “The Uppik Observatory: Modular Suborbital Aeronomy and Terrestrial Observations” by Jason Reimuller, et al. Abstract available at http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2013/Site2/PDF/Reimuller_abstract2.pdf

07 April 2013

2013 A4H Silent Auction

Astronauts4Hire is pleased to announce the launch of the First Annual A4H Online Silent Auction!! The funds raised from this year's auction, which runs from Sunday, April 7th until Friday, April 12th, will be used to support A4H's educational outreach program, furthering the A4H mission: "To increase the competitiveness of commercial astronaut candidates by providing skills training, facilitating forums for candidate communication, engaging the space research community, and inspiring the next generation."

Please join us for our auction, held in conjunction with Yuri's Night events across the globe, at: www.32auctions.com/Astronauts4Hire.

The items up for auction were generously donated by A4H friends, members, and partners, and range from collectible NASA spaceflight memorabilia, autographed books, and unique patches, to lifetime Associate memberships in Astronauts4Hire. We would like to thank everyone who donated an item for this year’s auction, for without you and our supporters, we would not be able to carry out the A4H mission.

As the spaceflight industry continues to gain momentum towards the goal of achieving manned commercial spaceflight, organizations such as A4H will play an even more important role in the development of future explorers, scientists, and spaceflight tourists.

Post-Auction Update: With your support, we raised over $800 from the auction. Thank you to everyone for making A4H's first auction such a success!

20 March 2013

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire Announces Commercial Astronaut Candidate Application Opportunity


March 20, 2013

Astronauts4Hire Announces Commercial Astronaut Candidate Application Opportunity

Tampa, Florida – Astronauts4Hire (A4H) is pleased to announce that it is seeking highly qualified candidates to expand its cadre of prospective commercial astronauts. Individuals interested in becoming Flight Members can submit applications via the Astronauts4Hire website at http://forms.astronauts4hire.org/FMapplication by April 20, 2013. Selectees will be announced during the first week of June 2013 at the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Broomfield, Colorado.

A4H Flight Members must speak English fluently and hold at least a Master's degree or equivalent in a relevant field of science or engineering. Exceptional applicants who are current students expecting to graduate within two years will also be considered. Those selected as A4H astronaut candidates should possess a unique combination of scientific expertise, broad technical and operational skills, and a history of activities showing adaptability in challenging environments. Finalists will be asked to provide an FAA Class 3 medical certificate and verification of credentials within 90 days of selection and will be expected to complete Research Specialist Astronaut training within two years of selection.

"I am thrilled to once again expand our Flight Member team with motivated, highly competent candidates to keep pace with the emerging needs of commercial spaceflight research missions," remarked A4H President Brian Shiro. "I encourage anyone interested in a career as a commercial astronaut to apply."

Astronauts4Hire provides its member community with training discounts and a support structure to achieve members’ space training goals in order to maximize preparation for space flights. As A4H’s astronaut candidates, Flight Members follow a progressive, integrated training program that emphasizes the ability to perform missions effectively during all phases of flight as well as manage contingencies.

18 February 2013

A4H Newsletter Issue #4

Astronauts4Hire's fourth newsletter The A4H News is here! Highlights in this issue include interviews with A4H Flight Member Dr. Mindy Howard and former NASA astronaut Christopher Ferguson, recaps of recent A4H activities, a preview of A4H Training Officer Dr. Erik Seedhouse's latest book Pulling G, and the most important news in the commercial spaceflight industry.

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

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29 January 2013

Press Release: Astronauts4Hire and NASTAR Center Announce Partnership


January 29, 2013

Astronauts4Hire and NASTAR Center Announce Partnership

Tampa, Florida – Astronauts4Hire and the National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR®) Center are proud to announce that they have signed a services agreement for NASTAR Center Space Training and to collaborate on developing new A4H-branded training programs for A4H’s commercial astronaut candidates.

A4H and the NASTAR Center will work together to develop A4H-specific training courses for astronaut candidates interested in aiding researchers, payload developers, and spaceflight providers with mission planning and operations support during spaceflight missions.

"A4H is an ambitious organization that has demonstrated diverse interests in space applications," stated Brienna Henwood, Director of Space Training and Research at the NASTAR Center. "I look forward to their insight and am happy to support their training goals of conducting research operations in space."

The agreement provides access to advanced commercial spaceflight training, including altitude and motion physiology curricula and hands-on simulated spaceflight launch to reentry flight exposures to A4H members at The NASTAR Center facility, which is located just outside Philadelphia. Space training will feature the NASTAR Center's PHOENIX centrifuge to deliver the authentic full-force spaceflight mission simulation needed to support a variety of profiles and task objectives encountered by flyers on suborbital and orbital spaceflight missions.

"I am very pleased with this agreement and look forward to working with the NASTAR Center to enhance and tailor their training specifically for professional astronaut-scientist crewmembers," remarked A4H President Brian Shiro. "With NASTAR as a valued partner, we are well-positioned to meet the needs of the emerging commercial spaceflight industry."

The NASTAR Center is the world's leading provider of training services for commercial suborbital space flights and first facility to receive safety approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct suborbital space training. To date, more than 250 spaceflight participants and scientists have prepared for space at the NASTAR Center in Southampton, PA.

25 January 2013

A4H Promo Video Release

The long-awaited video highlighting Astronauts4Hire's purpose, services, and the training its members undergo to become professional commercial astronauts is now available on the A4H YouTube channel. Watch now to learn about the only organization developing the next generation commercial astronaut workforce.

"Astronauts4Hire is a fast-growing 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of Ph.D. level experts in a wide array of scientific fields spread all over the world. We're developing this commercial astronaut workforce to bridge the gap between researchers and the new commercial space industry. We can help your organization be highly productive on parabolic flights, suborbital or even orbital missions. Contact us today to put our team to work on your project."

--Brian Shiro, A4H CEO
Special thanks to Oceans Aloft and Rusty Rogers for filming and producing the video. We also thank A4H's training partners Survival Systems USA, SIRIUS Astronaut Training, and the NASTAR Center for allowing us to shoot the footage at their facilities. Additional footage is courtesy of A4H client Vital Space during our joint 2012 NASA parabolic flight campaign testing a biomedical monitoring system in microgravity.