Training begins for suborbital scientist-astronauts

An initial group of a dozen prospective scientist-astronauts will begin a two-day training program today at the NASTAR Center just outside Philadelphia in preparation for future flights on commercial suborbital vehicles. The training will include both classroom instruction and “altitude chamber training, multi-axes centrifuge training for launch and reentry accelerations, and several distraction factor exercises”, all designed to prepare people for the experience of suborbital spaceflight. As noted here previously, there’s growing interest in using suborbital vehicles being developed to service the space tourism market for scientific applications as well, something that will be the focus of a conference next month in Colorado.

Among those at the NASTAR Center for the training program are former CNN space reporter Miles O’Brien and SpaceRef’s Keith Cowing, who will covering the event at OnOrbit, including live streaming video during the training sessions. They also advise checking out the the blog of one of the attendees, Joe Hill, who writes that she is “desperately excited about this opportunity but more than a little afraid” that she might not be able to handle the G-forces or other factors that will be tested in the training. There’s also the Twitter tag #suborbital to follow, although there’s not much there now.

Also, attendees will get to sport a new “Suborbital Scientist” patch that NASTAR announced yesterday, the result of a student competition won by an MIT grad student.

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