The astronaut training program is set to begin at Sierra Space

The astronaut training program is set to begin at Sierra Space

The world’s first fully comprehensive commercial human spaceflight facility and astronaut training academy is being developed by Sierra Space, a pioneering commercial space business at the forefront of developing and constructing the infrastructure for LEO (low-Earth orbit) commercialization.

In a statement made on June 14, the business said that its headquarters at the Kennedy Space Center would soon house a commercial human spaceflight training facility and astronaut training academy. The director of the institution will be former NASA astronaut Janet Kavandi, who is also the president of Sierra Space.

Sierra Space’s CEO, Tom Vice, said in a statement that “the commercialization of space, beginning with low Earth orbit, would require an imaginative fresh strategy to the selection, training, and preparation of the vast number of men and women that we will require to live and operate in space. ” Janet is exceptionally qualified for this unique position because of her unmatched degree of competence and experience.”

Kavandi is a former NASA astronaut who flew on three shuttle flights and held the positions of flight crew operations director and deputy chief of the astronaut office, Prior to joining SNC (Sierra Nevada Corporation) in 2019, she served as the Glenn Research Center director for NASA. In 2021, SNC separated Sierra Space to form a separate firm.

The facility will train three different kinds of astronauts. The Orbital Reef commercial space station, which Sierra Space is developing in collaboration with Blue Origin and others, will be operated by professional astronauts similar to NASA astronauts. The second kind of astronauts is going to be “specialists,” who will be trained to do research as well as other tasks on the station. A third category includes astronauts who are “experiential,” or space tourists.

In a Q&A provided by the corporation, Kavandi stated that professional astronauts will train for 12 to 18 months. According to her, specialists would require 3 to 6 months of training, whereas astronauts with experience would need “more modest instruction.”

A medical advisory board is now being created by Sierra Space to help in the selection process for astronauts, which is anticipated to begin in 2023. Early in 2024, training for the first batch of astronauts will begin. This advances the launch of Orbital Reef and maintains us on target to begin astronaut flights by 2026, according to Kavandi.

A crewed variant of Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser vehicle is being developed in addition to Orbital Reef. The crewed Dream Chaser recently passed an assessment of its systems requirements, according to the corporation, which announced the opening of its astronaut training facility. The maiden flight is expected for 2026.

Kavandi claimed that Sierra Space is still formulating its plan for choosing astronaut candidates, but that is intended to choose a few of its staff members for training. We have new recruit orientation every Monday, and whenever I communicate with new team members, I make it obvious that we will be hiring at least some employees from within the organization to assist us with staffing on-orbit destinations.

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