A shotgun blast of suborbital science

15 03 2012

I’m pleased to report that I recently had the fortune to represent my spaceflight consulting firm Astrowright as a sponsor of, as well as present research at, the Next-Generation Suborbital Researcher’s Conference this past February 26-29 in Palo Alto, CA.  

Ashley presenting our voluntary "Flight Readiness" certification service at NSRC 2012!

Specifically, after nearly a year of research and client-training-data-mining together with my friend/ballet-dancer/anthropologist/excercise-scientist/astronaut-trainer/partner-in-crime Ashley Boron, our presentations centered this year on our frontier fitness services – Astrowright’s custom preflight fitness training program for space passengers-to-be and a “flight readiness” benchmark testing and certification program intended to help aspiring spaceflight pros demonstrate that they’ve got the Right Stuff

The three-day event was intense – with a flurry of presentations covering everything from spacecraft development and mental stress training to planetary science and research payload design.  If that weren’t enough, beyond the research presented at the conference, (for the interested, the program is available here,) the meeting was an explosion of exciting commercial spaceflight activity, from keynote speaker Neil Armstrong’s comparison of early X-15 flights to the current activity in civilian spacecraft testing to XCOR’s giveaway of a trip to space!

Unfortunately, I had only a single day to fly out there and fly back – one of the pitfalls of too many irons in the fire – but the experience in even that short amount of time, like the last one, was thrilling.  The conference smashed both attendance and support records, as well – Further evidence that the suborbital science community is nothing shy of a force of nature blasting the doors off the hinges of civilian spaceflight.

Like many of us have been championing for a while now, a paradigm shift truly feels in-progress.  Many networking and potential research and business opportunities arose as a result of NSRC 2012… and I can’t wait to tell everyone about them at NSRC 2013!

For more details on the conference and/or our presentations, visit the Astrowright company blog here.

Semper exploro!

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What happened to Zero-G Football?

6 10 2011

Even team sports are possible on larger "zero-g" aircraft. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Back in late 2005, a company called IPX Entertainment, (headed by Haughton-Mars Project veteran Rocky Persaud,) began promoting microgravity sports.

With an interview with Leonard David, another on Ajax Developers Journal, and a piece written by Rocky himself on The Space Review, he championed the promise of repeat customers for viewing and participating in zero-g sports as a way to break open the NewSpace market to the masses.

The plan included a reality show, “Space Champions,” which would chronicle the development of a proprietary sport, first called “Parabolic Football,” or “Paraball,” and then intriguingly changed to, “Zero Gravity Football.”  (Was “Paraball” too confusing a term?)

Rendering of a Virgin Galactic suborbital space passenger. (Credit: Zero G)

A Zero Gravity Sports League was also on the books, as were flagship microgravity Zero Gravity Football teams in the U.S. and Canada.

This appeared to capitalize on the rush of attention given to Virgin Galactic SpaceShipOne’s  clinching of the Ansari X Prize, and by all accounts, the situation as of this late 2006 interview was looking up.

So, what happened?

I actually don’t have a direct answer.  The company no longer exists, and the corporate charter has been revoked.  I suspect the fact that the commercial suborbital space market didn’t mature as quickly as many hoped played a role.  Also, the failure of the Rocket Racing League to take off (yet), which is also a “space sport” intended to rally public interest in private space, may have made investors and advertisers hesitant to invest in a “zero-g sport.”

Regardless, perhaps with SpaceShipTwo about ready to fly and XCor’s Lynx right behind, the market may be more fertile for the advent of microgravity sports?





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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