Future SwRI astronauts stomp on the accelerator

26 08 2011

SwRI's suborbital science mission patch. (Credit: SwRI)

A quick note today on the further development of the worlds’ first commercial scientist-astronauts!  The Southwest Research Institute‘s (SwRI) suborbital research program, after its stunning announcement last spring of the purchase of several research seats on upcoming suborbital spaceflights, is showing no signs of slowing.

Recently, after their three commercial scientist-astronauts-in-training, (specifically termed payload specialists,) completed basic astronaut training, they announced the release of their project mission patch (at left).

I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same way, but I’ll be brave enough to admit that something as technically irrelevant as a patch can make an endeavor feel suddenly very real.

According to their recent statements, the team is moving out of the phase of training and the construction of their spaceflight experiments to fine-tuning their payloads and integrating them with future spacecraft.  With SwRI and Dr. Alan Stern leading the way, the advent of commercial civilian scientist-astronauts is upon us, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I hope to follow right behind.

Ad astra, SwRI!

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NASTAR: Day 0 – Part 1

8 05 2011

Well, it’s 2:00 p.m. local time in San Francisco International Airport, and reality is starting to set in: After what amounts to 15 years of anticipation, I’m headed out to engage in FAA-certified civilian scientist-astronaut training at the NASTAR Center (reviewed in my previous post here)!

After a grueling morning – I was awakened well before I’d been intending with what can only be described as heinous bout of food poisoning – I managed to blearily finish packing and head out to the Las Vegas airport (with more than a little assistance from my outstanding wife).

It hasn’t been the most enjoyable way to travel so far, mind you, but I wasn’t about to let anything derail this outing.

In any event, with the first leg of the trip in the rear-view mirror and with the help of an electrolyte-stuffed commercial fitness drink, my wits are returning to me… and the thrill is rising.

Now, using logic only a delirious flight controller may be able to understand, I had to travel west to San Francisco in order to backtrack and head over to Pennsylvania.  (I suspect it has something to do with the availability of long-range flights, but still…).  However, despite the irrationality of the route, this waystation seems strangely fitting.

Looking around, I realized that SFO has a permanent association in my mind with the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, which is always held in San Francisco and was the site of my first research presentations on englacial hydrodynamics.

In essence, my decision to engage in professional field science all started here.  It’s only right that I tip my hat on the way by.

I board in about an hour.  More to follow…





Update: Astrowright LLC’s blog now online

19 03 2011

Just a quick note – Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC’s (Astrowright’s) official company blog is now online at:  blog.astrowright.com

Check it out for up-to-date news and the latest information on Astrowright’s services, including pre-flight fitness consulting, in-flight dosimetry and dose analyses, spacecraft habitability assessments, microgravity product/instrumentation testing and development, and charter payload specialists.

Oh, and more to come on the Japanese reactor situation soon.





Introducing Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC

27 02 2011

This has been nearly impossible for me to keep under my hat for so long, but after nearly a year of preliminary work, I am thrilled to announce that Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC is open for business (www.astrowright.com).

(c) 2011, Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC

So, what is the venture specifically?

The firm offers a suite of spaceflight-related services, including orbital and sub-orbital spacecraft habitability assessments, ergonomics and human integration certification, preflight fitness and radiation dosimetry programs for those planning or scheduled to fly, spacecraft research payload operation, and microgravity instrumentation development.

We serve the complete range of spaceflight interests, from aerospace corporations and spacecraft manufacturers to academic institutions, professional astronauts, suborbital researchers, spaceflight participants, and interested individuals.

The high-energy, industry-centered team I’ve assembled includes experts in extreme-performance ergonomics engineering (military aircraft and formula-1 racing), exercise science and professional fitness training (for all levels of health, age, and commitment), as well as experts in physical science instrumentation and research, cryogenics, and radiological protection.

Perhaps most importantly, we all come from an industry/corporate environment, so we understand and can speak the language of budget and timeline, cost scheduling, and we know how to accomplish tasks on time and under budget.

For more information, visit visit www.astrowright.com, and to keep up-to-date on Astrowright offerings and events, please follow us on Facebook (Astrowright Facebook page) and Twitter (Astrowright Twitter feed).

No matter your interest in spaceflight, we can help you maximize your time in space.  Contact us to help you meet your spaceflight goals.

(Stay tuned for further developments!)








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