Virgin Galactic Teams Up With NASA to Train Private Astronauts
The program will help get people ready to visit the International Space Station
Virgin Galactic is going to help private citizens get onto the International Space Station.
Richard Branson’s commercial spaceflight venture has signed a deal with NASA to develop an astronaut readiness program that trains and supports private astronauts for missions to the ISS, as reported by MIT Technology Review.
This follows last year’s announcement by NASA that they would allow companies to bid on using the space station for commercial uses or even to send up private astronauts. In a sense, Virgin Galactic will be training these people — most likely aboard its suborbital SpaceShipTwo — who fall under those categories to get into space.
This Space Act Agreement will reportedly entail “identifying candidates interested in purchasing private astronaut missions to the ISS,” along with training, transport to the ISS, and support and coordination using space station resources for future missions under this program.
As the aerospace company noted in a press release, “Virgin Galactic has already developed a customized Future Astronaut Readiness program for its customers flying out of Spaceport America in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic’s existing space experiences could play an important role in the training for orbital travel, allowing passengers to become familiar with the environment in space, such as G-forces and zero-G. Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic’s home base, will be utilized for some elements of the training program, using the facilities designed for private astronaut training.”
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