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.