Private astronauts

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Yuri_Armstrong

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With Bigelow Aerospace and other companies looking to start launching private stations and ships into sub-orbit and LEO, who will they be hiring to operate these craft?
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

Guest
If the standard holds like the case of Scaled Composits using experienced test pilots, whether they be ex-military or purely comercial, the skill set is actually overshadowed by the desire to have individuals that are competent under preasure. Another possible line is the same criteria used to select nuclear power plant engineers, they too have to show competence under extreme preasure. Not all comercial astrounat positions will require pilots, but most test pilots are also engineers.
 
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rockett

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Well, for one thing, with the prospects of not having their own ship to drive for quite a while, I would think the pilots in the current astronaut corps would be ripe pickings. Also think I remember seeing a number of both announced "retirements", and solicitations from the private sector going on:
Future astronauts face tricky transition
NASA focuses on retaining veterans during four-year flight gap
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26742735/
Bigalow Astronauts wanted:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=astronauts-wanted-experience-essent-2010-03
 
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Boris_Badenov

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Bigelow Aerospace & SpaceX used to have the position of Astronaut on their careers page, but it's gone from both sites now. Presumably they've filled the limited number of open positions. :cry:
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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I wouldn't be surprised if some of NASA's pilots left for the private companies! The ability to do something new in a completely different private sector environment must have been pretty attractive!
 
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EarthlingX

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Private astronauts :

http://www.astronauts4hire.org : Astronauts4Hire Selected for Historic Microgravity Research Flight
September 22, 2010

Tampa, Florida – Astronauts4Hire’s inaugural mission as a contracted flight researcher will be testing the world’s first beer to be certified for drinking in space. The beer, produced as a joint venture between Saber Astronautics Australia and the 4-Pines Brewing Company (under the name Vostok Pty Ltd), is a recipe designed for easy drinking in both in microgravity and on Earth. It is intended to meet anticipated demand from the nascent space tourism market.

An Astronauts4Hire flight member has been hired as the primary flight operator for the non-profit organization’s first employment opportunity. Sampling the beer during weightless parabolas, the flight researcher will record both qualitative data on beverage taste and drinkability and biometric data on body temperature, heart rate, and blood alcohol content.

“Astronauts4Hire is living up to its name,” says its President Brian Shiro. “This opportunity is an important milestone for us and illustrates how researchers can hire our members to conduct experiments under conditions of microgravity.”

The first test is scheduled for mid November 2010 onboard a series of parabolic flights operated by the ZERO-G Corporation. This will be the first of a series of flights qualifying the recipe for consumption in space, funded in part by sales of the beverage on Earth. Astronauts4Hire is honored to be taking a prime role in this research as the payload operator.
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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hdmkYtekT4[/youtube]
Astern2010 | February 21, 2010

My soon to be suborbital life-- aka-- Barnstorming the Suborbital Frontier.

Scientists Alan Stern and Dan Durda describe the coming era of suborbital spaceflight and how it will open up great possibilities for researchers, educators, and the public beginning later this year.

Filmed, edited, and produced by Jim Arthurs of Colorado Springs.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_kujLqKbIA[/youtube]
 
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oldAtlas_Eguy

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One item that most miss about private vs government (NASA) astronauts is that private industry will keep them busy at the primary reason they were hired: Space Missions. NASA has such a high number of astronauts because they need two for each specialty, a primary and backup. A company has only a narrow range of specialties so the numbers of astronauts they need are few and they would use them more often, a fact that most NASA astronauts would like better than their current situation.
 
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neutrino78x

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rockett":1i1wq0cl said:
Well, for one thing, with the prospects of not having their own ship to drive for quite a while,
SpaceX and other companies are working on the replacement for the space shuttle, which will be commercially contracted, with many choices available. If by "their own ship" you mean one owned by NASA, yes, that will be quite a while. If, however, you mean a US owned and built rocket, launching from US soil, that will be quite soon.

--Brian
 
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EarthlingX

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk : Mission control to Manchester: British 'rocket man' launches mission to become first private firm to put tourists into space
Last updated at 12:59 PM on 26th September 2010

A team of British rocketeers plan to open the door to the stars by becoming the first private firm to put tourists in space.

Starchaser boss Steve Bennett and astronaut Matt Shrewbridge hope to loft the first paying passengers into the cosmos by 2015.

But before they can do that the Manchester-based firm, must carry out a series of trials.

The first ‘milestone’ in November will be testing their 20ft Launch Escape System (LES) – a rescue pod that separates from the rocket if the spacecraft fails.
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Colossal: The 70ft Starchaser 4 rocket has already been built at the company's headquarters in Manchester
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Proud: Starchaser boss Steve Bennett, who gave up his university job 14 years ago, with Matt and his rocket
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Mission control to Manchester: Matt tests out the systems in the Launch Escape System pod
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‘One day someone is going to Mars and will be the first person to land on that planet. To me it would be the greatest thing if he or she went there on a Starchaser rocket or was inspired in the first place because our outreach team visited their school when they were younger.’

The biggest problem Mr Bennett faces is funding. He is currently £20,000 short of having enough for the 20ft LES rocket test flight.

After raising another £200,000 - which is expected to be next year - they will have the means to test fly the LES craft combined with Starchaser 4.
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rcsplinters

Guest
I think this is a very interesting question. I've seen a couple of stories that suggest NASA is kicking around the "rental" model which would use a commercial capsule with NASA crew. The other model they are considering is the "taxi" model which would have a commercial pilot with NASA passengers. This is the current Russian model. The following link: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2010/09/16/09.xml&headline=Astronauts Prefer To Drive Their Own Ferries will give you the general idea.

Frankly, I think NASA will never have enough passengers to support a commercial service profitably. To survive, a commercial service will need a taxi model with private or corporate passengers. Absent that revenue stream, the future is pretty bleak for the commercial players.

So NASA may go "rental" and everyone else likely "taxi". To get the "job" so to speak, watch that taxi market place to see how it unfolds. Just so you know, that will be the single most difficult job to land in the history of jobs.
 
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EarthlingX

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audioboo.fm : Meet the pilot of the first private orbital space flight, Miroslav Ambruš-Kiš (interview podcast)
11.11am Central Europe Daylight Time, 06 Oct 2010

by Kate Arkless Gray
..

http://www.googlelunarxprize.org : SYNERGY MOON


InterPlanetary Ventures, the Human Synergy Project, and Interorbital Systems have joined forces to become SYNERGY MOON, the newest team to enter the Google Lunar X PRIZE race to the Moon. With working groups in 15 countries, the SYNERGY MOON team actively promotes international cooperation in space exploration and development. SYNERGY MOON will use a lunar-direct launch of an Interorbital Systems’ modular NEPTUNE rocket to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the Moon before the end of 2012. That rover will, at a minimum, travel 500 meters across the lunar surface, and transmit video, images, and data back to Earth. SYNERGY MOON will prove that an international, private-sector team can do what has never been done before: move private enterprise into space beyond Earth orbit.


...
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
That would be quite a decision for prospective astronauts in a few years. Private space pilots would probably see more time in space, but NASA astronauts get more ambitious missions.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
www.universetoday.com : Could a Human Mars Mission Be Funded Commercially?
Oct 7th, 2010

by Nancy Atkinson


An artists illustration of a manned mission to Mars. Credit: NASA

What will it take to actually get humans to Mars? The best answer is probably money. The right amount of cold, hard cash will certainly solve a lot of problems and eliminate hurdles in sending a human mission to the Red Planet. But cash-strapped federal space agencies aren’t currently in the position to be able to direct a mission to another world – at least in the near term – and seemingly, a trip Mars is always 20-30 years off into the future. But how about a commercially funded effort?
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Artists impression of a future human mission to Mars. Credit: NASA
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neutrino78x

Guest
Yep, in the future, most people working in space will be private astronauts, just like most sailors on The High Seas today are merchant sailors, not Navy! :)

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
I definitely support private or semi-private funding of a Mars mission, like how the British government funded the London Company which helped to settle North America.

--Brian
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
www.astronauts4hire.org : A4H in the Spotlight
07 October 2010

Astronauts4Hire has received worldwide attention since announcing its first job as the contracted flight researcher hired by Saber Astronautics Australia and the 4 Pines Brewery to test Vostok space beer in microgravity. To date, over 150 articles have appeared in the media ranging from blogs to magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. Here are some of the highlights:
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
thewayoutspace.blogspot.com : Orbital Expeditions
Monday, October 11, 2010

Posted by Gregory Anderson at 9:42 AM

Interorbital Systems, an American NewSpace firm which is probably better known in Europe than it is in the U. S., is moving ahead with a program to offer tourists, and others, orbital spaceflights. Launched from the waters of the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga, the IOS spacecraft will carry up to six passengers plus a pilot. IOS is planning a two-man orbital flight sometime in 2011-12, with commercial flights to begin in the 2012-13 period.

Orbital Expedition flights will last about a week and cost $5 million per ticket. However, the company is offering a bargain deal-- the first ten tickets sold will go for $250,000 apiece. Two of the ten have already been snapped up, and, according to IOS CEO Randa Milliron, the company will begin a marketing effort to tell the public about the program soon. In an interesting comparison, Virgin Galactic is offering suborbital flights that will feature a few minutes of weightlessness in a fairly small cabin for $200,000 whereas a few people, for $50,ooo more, would get to experience true spaceflight-- days of weightlessness in a module with a large enough volume to allow real exploration of the possibilities of microgravity, dozens of sunrises and sunsets, and extended opportunities to observe the Earth and other celestial bodies from space-- on an early Orbital Expeditions flight.

Whether IOS, or, indeed, VG, can actually turn their plans into profitable reality is still open to question, but IOS is moving across a broad front, pursuing both manned and unmanned projects. It is even looking at the Moon-- in the context of the Google Lunar X-Prize competition, but also in flying a lunar sample return mission, and in establishing a substantial, private, manned lunar base in just a few years. If IOS succeeds across the board, it will have secured a place as one of the most important corporations in human history.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
This is a bit of a personal question here. After I've done my service with the Air Force, I'd be interested in flying these space planes for any private space company. What kind of credentials do you think they'd be looking for, and what are the qualifications of their current pilots?
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
I guess having military pilot education and experience would definitely be a bonus. If i remember correctly, being a test pilot is a requirement for NASA astronauts in pilot seat. I wouldn't know about these private companies, my guess is that before there are any regulations about it, requirements will vary. You can get a hint of what is needed, beside luck, in the interview above.

Meantime, perhaps this is something you can do :

http://www.googlelunarxprize.org : Blog-O-Naut Wanted!
Tue, 10/12/2010 - 18:35 — White Label Space

Did you ever notice that astronauts are fantastic public speakers? There is a reason for that. Their nearly unique role as envoy of humankind makes astronauts the ideal medium to tell the public about the valuable and exciting work being done by the engineers and scientists in their space agencies.

Are you passionate about space?

Do you want to see the inner workings of a well-established team competing in the Google Lunar X PRIZE?

White Label Space is urgently seeking an enthusiastic individual to help us tell our story. Your core activities will be blogging and youtubing using raw content created within the team. We need to keep up a steady steam of output to keep the public engaged so you will also bring to bear your skills at twitter and facebook.

If you think you have the right stuff, send us an email: careers@whitelabelspace.com

We are accepting applications until the end of October. We are interested to see any similar things you've done in the past. This is a volunteer role but with chances to move into a paid position later. All ages, genders and experience levels are welcome.
 
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DarkenedOne

Guest
Yuri_Armstrong":1c71xwnw said:
With Bigelow Aerospace and other companies looking to start launching private stations and ships into sub-orbit and LEO, who will they be hiring to operate these craft?
Vehicles like the Dragon and the CST-100 are completely automated, which makes sense because spaceflight is really not that complicated. This allows them to be tested without any danger to human life, and it allows them to be used as cargo carriers. Therefore they probably will not need pilots, even for when they carry humans.

The exception is vehicles like SpaceShipTwo, which is a fairly complex vehicle.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
Vehicles without pilots? I'm not sure I like the sound of that.
 
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pathfinder_01

Guest
DarkenedOne":3eclng6a said:
Yuri_Armstrong":3eclng6a said:
With Bigelow Aerospace and other companies looking to start launching private stations and ships into sub-orbit and LEO, who will they be hiring to operate these craft?
Vehicles like the Dragon and the CST-100 are completely automated, which makes sense because spaceflight is really not that complicated. This allows them to be tested without any danger to human life, and it allows them to be used as cargo carriers. Therefore they probably will not need pilots, even for when they carry humans.

The exception is vehicles like SpaceShipTwo, which is a fairly complex vehicle.
Not quite. Vehicles when caring cargo don't need a pilot (why pay and risk his life?). When caring crew, I expect a pilot (things can go wrong and computers are not good at dealing with the unexpected). Lost of cargo is not as bad as loss of life.

The Shuttle and Soyuz both have differing degrees of pilot control. In the case of the shuttle everything including docking and landing(and a few important mis. items) are usually done by crew. Launch and reentry is done by autopilot. For Soyuz the crew can take over in an emergency.

Even in the case of cargo, astronauts at the ISS can wave off a bad approach by progress (and I expect they probably can to any cargo carrier). In the case of Dragon and Cygnus the robot arm is required to berth them since they don’t technically dock. (Crewed Dragon will be capable of docking).
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

Guest
That makes more sense. I couldn't believe they would even think of sending a crew up without a pilot.
 
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DarkenedOne

Guest
pathfinder_01":38ux42rk said:
Vehicles like the Dragon and the CST-100 are completely automated, which makes sense because spaceflight is really not that complicated. This allows them to be tested without any danger to human life, and it allows them to be used as cargo carriers. Therefore they probably will not need pilots, even for when they carry humans.

The exception is vehicles like SpaceShipTwo, which is a fairly complex vehicle.
Not quite. Vehicles when caring cargo don't need a pilot (why pay and risk his life?). When caring crew, I expect a pilot (things can go wrong and computers are not good at dealing with the unexpected). Lost of cargo is not as bad as loss of life.

The Shuttle and Soyuz both have differing degrees of pilot control. In the case of the shuttle everything including docking and landing(and a few important mis. items) are usually done by crew. Launch and reentry is done by autopilot. For Soyuz the crew can take over in an emergency.

Even in the case of cargo, astronauts at the ISS can wave off a bad approach by progress (and I expect they probably can to any cargo carrier). In the case of Dragon and Cygnus the robot arm is required to berth them since they don’t technically dock. (Crewed Dragon will be capable of docking).
Well it is like I said before. Spacecraft are not like planes. There are no control surfaces. Just thrusters and trajectories, which have to be calculated by the computer anyway. So what is there for a human pilot to do. Docking is probably the only function that a pilot could serve, and even then the computer could do it.

So what I am saying is that there really will not be much "piloting" to these spaceships. Now of course your going to need someone from the company who knows what they are doing to guide the passengers through the whole process. I suppose such a person would know how to dock in case the automated system fails.
 
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