Association of Spaceflight Professionals

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Association of Spaceflight Professionals
Association of Spaceflight Professionals.png
Type: Nonprofit
Industry: Commercial astronauts
Founded: April 12, 2010
Location: Tampa, Florida
Key people: Soyeon Yi
Director of the Board
Christopher Altman
Director of the Board
Chief Science Officer (2013–14)

Inaugural Class Flight Members conduct underwater emergency egress and sea survival training with Survival Systems, USA in Groton, Connecticut, June 2011. (L to R): Brian Shiro, Christopher Altman, Jason Reimuller.
Inaugural Class Flight Members conduct underwater emergency egress and sea survival training with Survival Systems, USA in Groton, Connecticut, June 2011. (L to R): Brian Shiro, Christopher Altman, Jason Reimuller.
Soyeon Yi with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (right), Expedition 16 commander, and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (middle), flight engineer, at the International Space Station in April 2008.
Soyeon Yi with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (right), Expedition 16 commander, and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (middle), flight engineer, at the International Space Station in April 2008.
NASA Commercial Crew.jpg

The Association of Spaceflight Professionals (ASP), initially incorporated as Astronauts for Hire, was established with the intention of training highly-qualified candidates as scientist-astronauts and making them available for hire as commercial crew. Research institutions, spaceflight companies and principal investigators are able to draw upon the cumulative experience and expertise of trained professionals to carry out scientific experiments on suborbital and orbital space missions, rather than rely solely on their own personnel.[1][2]


Training excerpts from documentary footage featuring the inaugural class of flight and associate members. (L to R): José Hurtado, Kristine Ferrone, Alli Taylor, Christopher Altman, Jason Reimuller, Jules Shiohira Ung.
NASA Astronaut Daniel Barry, KARI Astronaut Soyeon Yi and NASA-trained Commercial Astronaut Christopher Altman disembark G-Force One after a celebratory parabolic microgravity flight at NASA Ames Research Center. Altman and Yi are now both active commercial scientist-astronauts with the Association of Spaceflight Professionals.
Inaugural Class Flight Member Christopher Altman salutes before ingress to High-G centrifuge training.
Inaugural Class Flight Member Christopher Altman salutes before ingress to High-G centrifuge training.
Association of Spaceflight Professionals commercial astronauts conduct parabolic microgravity testing of the Vital Space wireless biometric device under the NASA Flight Opportunities Program in May 2012. Image Credit: NASA
Flight members conduct parabolic microgravity tests with the NASA Flight Opportunities Program. Jason Reimuller demonstrates a somersault. May 2012.
SpaceX Dragon interior seating layout for commercial astronauts.
SpaceX Dragon interior seating layout for commercial astronauts.
SpaceX BFR docks with the International Space Station.

Since founding as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the state of Florida on April 12, 2010,[3][4] the corps has partnered with leading government, corporate and academic providers to offer specialized astronaut training, from survival and egress to aerobatics and high-G centrifuge, to prepare its candidates for suborbital and orbital spaceflight missions. As commercial astronauts, flight members are vetted through a highly-selective evaluation process modeled from the NASA Astronaut Corps, incorporating guidance and direction from a selection panel of veteran NASA astronauts, astronaut trainers, and experienced spaceflight professionals..

Several members have interviewed as finalists in national astronaut candidate selection campaigns;[5][6][7][8] one has completed an orbital mission conducting scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station. South Korean Astronaut Soyeon Yi, the first Korean to fly in space, is an active member of the corps and serves on its board of directors.[9]

Flight members have lived, worked and trained together with NASA and government astronauts from other countries, as well as serving as astronaut instructors themselves—training both NASA astronauts and Astronaut Candidates in specialist areas such as Space Exploration Vehicles (SEV), Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and critical space mission operational tasks[10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

In 2011, an inaugural class of four candidates: Altman, Reimuller, Seedhouse and Shiro completed suborbital research scientist training, underwater emergency egress and sea survival training, and spatial orientation-disorientation testing and acclimation,[17][18] with performance standards designed in strict adherence to meet or exceed FAA Commercial Astronaut certification and licensing guidelines[19][20][21] as defined by the Office of Commercial Space Transportation under 14 CFR 460, Human Spaceflight Requirements,[22]14 CFR 460.5, Crew qualifications and training,[23] and the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, Public Law 108-492, 118, Stat. 3978.[24][25][26][27][28]

The corps numbers nineteen flight members, or commercial astronauts, with membership numbering more than 200 PhD-level scientists, researchers and engineers from nineteen countries around the world[29] drawn from backgrounds in the military, defense, science, medicine, aerospace and engineering communities with an extensive track record of research and development, payload testing and integration, mission planning and operations support for the space industry, including several experiments currently flying on the International Space Station.[30][31][32][33][34] Members contribute to research at national space agencies, defense,[35] research, science and technology organizations, and have given inspirational talks around the globe.[36]

The organization has been featured in Nature,[37][38] Discover Magazine,[39][40] New Scientist,[41][42] Aviation Week and Space Technology[43] among others, and received extensive press coverage following its test of the first beer specifically intended to be consumed in space, targeted at the emerging space tourist market.[44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51] The corps publishes its own newsletter featuring in-depth interviews with NASA astronauts and prominent spaceflight industry insiders.[52][53][54][55][56][57][58]

Partnership with NASA Astronaut Corps on Astronaut Candidate Selection and Training

In December 2011, in partnership with the NASA Astronaut Corps, the organization held a public online seminar and discussion session on the astronaut selection process with Duane Ross, Manager for NASA Astronaut Candidate Training and Astronaut Candidate Selection.[59]

Spaceflight missions

The organization's first manned spaceflight missions were funded by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program in the second quarter of 2012.[60]

The NASA Commercial Crew program, with official industry partners Boeing and SpaceX, is ramping up to launch its first manned test flights in the second half of 2018. Once testing is completed, both NASA and commercial astronauts will use the spacecraft to access the International Space Station and commercial space stations currently under development from Axiom Space, Bigelow Aerospace and others.[61][62]

See also

External links


  1. MIT AeroAstro News July 2010
  2. Astronaut for hire: Space tourism will help science New Scientist, July 22, 2010
  3. "FAQ", "Astronauts for Hire Website," accessed December 19, 2010.
  4. "Astronauts for Hire Granted 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status," accessed December 27, 2011.
  5. Erik Seedhouse | The Space Show
  6. U of T alumni make shortlist to become Canada’s next astronauts
  7. Astronaut recruit: Alaska makes a good analog for space | Geophysical Institute
  8. Engineering grad to watch: astronaut for hire Aaron Persad - U of T Engineering News Nov 20, 2014, U of T Engineering News
  9. Association of Spaceflight Professionals
  10. Historical synopses of desert RATS 1997–2010 and a preview of desert RATS 2011. Acta Astronautica, Vol. 90, Issue 2 (182–202). DOI 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.02.003. ISSN 0094-5765
  11. Tools and technologies needed for conducting planetary field geology while on EVA: Insights from the 2010 Desert RATS geologist crewmembers. Acta Astronautica, Vol. 90, 2 (332–343). DOI: 10.1016/J. Acta Astro 2011.10.16. ISSN: 0094-5765]
  12. Desert Research and Technology Studies (DRATS) 2010 science operations: Operational approaches and lessons learned for managing science during human planetary surface missions Acta Astronautica. Volume 90, 2 (224–241) doi 10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.03.009, ISSN 0094-5765
  13. UTEP Professor’s Skills Critical to NASA’s RATS Patrol
  14. NASA: Meet the 2010 Desert RATS Crew. NASA.
  15. Astronauts for Hire: Erik Seedhouse
  16. Projects & Programs | PISCES Hawaii Paceific Space Center, August 12, 2017.
  17. "Astronauts for Hire Members Complete Emergency & Sea Survival Training"
  18. "Astronauts for Hire Announces Summer Training Schedule"
  19. 2013 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, “A Training Roadmap for Commercial Suborbital Spaceflight Participants.” Mindy Howard, Brienna Henwood, Ben McGee.
  20. Wooldridge, L., Seedhouse, E., Shiro, B., Reimuller,J. (2010-2012) A4h Suborbital Scientist Astronaut Qualification Standards, Astronauts For Hire, Inc.
  21. Wooldridge, A., Reimuller,J. (2012) Commercial Spaceflight Astronaut Syllabus.
  22. 14 CFR Part 460 - HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT REQUIREMENTS. Legal Information Institute
  23. CFR 460.5 - Crew qualifications and training.
  24. US Congress Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004
  25. Commercial Space Flight: New Legislation and the Industry and Developments which Impact Commercial Airports, FAA NW Mountain Region 2005-04-05, accessed 2007-02-20
  27. Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapter III, Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation.
  28. International Standards Organization – Opening Space
  29. Status update, July 2017.
  30. Engineering grad to watch: astronaut for hire Aaron Persad - U of T Engineering News
  31. U of T alumni make shortlist to become Canada’s next astronauts. University of Toronto News
  32. Space-Based Life Sciences Research - Dr. Luis Zea | University of Iceland Biomedical Center
  33. Why bacteria 'shapeshift' in space. CU Boulder Today.
  34. Zea Aerospace Engineering Zea Aerospace Engineering
  35. Astronaut Development and Deployment of a Secure Quantum Space Channel Prototype Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency QUINESS (Macroscopic Quantum Communications)
  36. Altman, Christopher. Keynote on the Future of Space Exploration, broadcast live to 108 cities around the world. Mobile Monday Amsterdam, May 2011.
  37. "Astronauts for Hire featured in the journal Nature," accessed December 27, 2011.
  38. "Commercial space flight: Scientists in space." Katharine Sanderson. Nature 476, 477–478 (01 August 2011).
  39. "Astronauts for Hire in Discover Magazine," July 2011. Accessed December 27, 2011.
  40. "Big Idea: We're Looking for a Few Good Astronauts." Discover Magazine. Andrew Grant. Tuesday, July 19, 2011.
  41. "Astronauts for Hire Member featured in New Scientist Magazine" accessed December 27, 2011.
  42. "Aiming for the stars." Becky Oskin. New Scientist 2841, November 30, 2011.
  43. "Jumping-Off Point" originally "Space Startups Have a Head of Steam." Aviation Week & Space Technology, by Frank Morring, Oct 3, 2011.
  44. "Press Release:Astronauts4Hire selected for Historic Microgravity Research Flight", "Astronauts for Hire Website", accessed December 19, 2010.
  45. "Space Beer Headed for Zero Gravity Bar,", by Denise Chow (reprinted by MSNBC). September 27, 2010.
  46. "On Tap: Space Beer Testing," Discovery News, by Irene Klotz. September 28, 2010.
  47. "One Giant Leap For Mankind: First Beer Brewed For Space," Time Magazine, by Josh Sanburn. September 28, 2010.
  48. "First Beer Brewed For Drinking in Space Will Undergo Testing in Low-Gravity Pub," Popular Science, by Julie Beck. Sept 30, 2010.
  49. "Space Tourists Will Get Their Own Special Space Beer," Discover Magazine, by Jennifer Welsh (reprinted by CBS News). Sept 30, 2010.
  50. "Beam me up Shhhcotty ... the Aussie space beer with zero gravity." Sydney Morning Herald, by Asher Moses. Oct 1,2010.
  51. "Down-Under Brewers Work On Space Beer," NPR Morning Edition, host Steve Inskeep. Oct 1, 2010.
  52. A4H Newsletter Issue 1, Jan 2012. A4H Members Complete Suborbital Scientist Training.
  53. The A4H Newsletter Issue 2, Second quarter 2012. A4H makes High-Impact presence at Suborbital Research Conference.
  54. The A4H Newsletter Issue 3, Third quarter 2012. A4H Completes Second Microgravity Research Job.
  55. The A4H Newsletter Issue 4, Spring 2013. A4H, The Video: Venturing Ahead to Commercial Spaceflight.
  56. The A4H Newsletter Issue 5, Fall 2013. Cloud Gazing from Suborbital Space. A4H Member Leads Upper Atmosphere Experiment.
  57. The A4H Newsletter Issue 6, Summer 2014. Space Oddities: How Bacteria’s Strange Behavior in Space Can Benefit Humanity.
  58. The A4H Newsletter Issue 7, Fall 2015. Alive and Well in Space: FAA’s Dr. Melchor Antuñano on Medicine and Commercial Space
  59. "Astronauts for Hire Webinar on Astronaut Selection," Astronauts for Hire website. Originally accessed December 27, 2011. Internet Archive, December 3, 2017
  60. Organizational Milestones: First for Hire Contract, First Spaceflight Mission
  61. Commercial Crew Test Launches by SpaceX, Boeing Will Begin This Year
  62. 1st Private Space Station Will Become an Off-Earth Manufacturing Hub/