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Mon, Jan 11, 2010

First Scientist-Astronaut Training Course Begins This Week

Thirteen Researchers See If They Have The Right Stuff

The National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center's inaugural Suborbital Scientist-Astronaut Training Course begins this week at its facility just outside Philadelphia, PA. Thirteen researchers who plan to accompany experiments on upcoming commercial space missions are expected to train.

The comprehensive, two-day course includes classroom instruction, overview of the commercial spaceflight industry, altitude chamber training, multi-axes centrifuge training for launch and reentry accelerations, and several distraction factor exercises with the goal of fully acquainting and preparing trainees for the physical rigors and time, pressure constraints involved during suborbital spaceflight.

The Suborbital Scientist-Astronaut Training Course has been developed by The NASTAR Center and is organized by Dr. Alan Stern and Dr. Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). This partnership provides an opportunity for the scientific community to become educated about the potential to perform low-cost, repeatable, hands-on projects and experiments in space in the near future.

Dr. Alan Stern said: "We are very much looking forward to the NASTAR course ... , which will be our first dedicated spaceflight familiarization activity. We're already preparing research experiments for suborbital spaceflight and look forward to soon seeing these experiments scheduled for flight."

"The coming era of commercial suborbital spaceflight offers tremendous potential for the research and education communities," added Durda. "The NASTAR Suborbital Scientist-Astronaut Course will provide us with important additions to our previous experience in high-performance aircraft, as well as valuable new training specifically aimed at getting us ready for suborbital spaceflight. As researchers working in a challenging, dynamic environment like that, it's important to be well-prepared to make efficient use of the experiment time available to us in flight."

Brienna Henwood, Business Development and Program Manager for Space and Research at The NASTAR Center said, "I am thrilled to add the Suborbital Scientist Course to our current offerings. The course is more than just physiology training, it provides an overview about suborbital research and is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about the growing opportunities that rest within the commercial spaceflight industry."

Institutions sending researchers, students and grad students to the inaugural program include: SwRI, Boston University, the Denver Museum of Natural Sciences, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Central Florida, and the University Space Research Association (USRA).



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