Get-hooked September 21, 2022
AstroAccess Announces Disabled Ambassadors & Flight Crew for Next Weightless Flight
AstroAccess, an organization dedicated to promoting disability inclusion in space exploration, announced its second cohort of Disabled Ambassadors who will fly on AA2, the second AstroAccess parabolic flight with Zero Gravity Corporation. The flight will take place in Houston, TX on December 14, 2022, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 17 lunar liftoff, the last time humans were on the Moon.
AstroAccess is inspired by the history-defining work of the Apollo Program. The team is excited to have the next flight take place in the city of Houston with the opportunity to contribute to the city’s rich history of human spaceflight by reimagining accessible spaceflight design and redefining who can be an astronaut. The AA2 flight will continue the important accessibility research that was conducted on the inaugural AstroAccess flight in October of 2021, as well as work on two additional parabolic flights conducted by MIT and the Aurelia Institute, which flew AstroAccess Ambassadors in May of this year.
The AstroAccess AA2 flight crew is a mix of four returning flyers and twelve new flyers. This combination of new and returning flyers, in addition to the work done by the AstroAccess ground crew and the mentorship of the AA1 Ambassadors, has launched AstroAccess into the next phase of its mission to make space more accessible. For the first time, the flight will have international Ambassadors from four countries and three continents (Australia, Brazil, Germany, and Spain) as part of the program’s global expansion. The full list of AA2 flyers can be found at the end of this release and on the AstroAccess.org website.
This is a vital next step for advancing not only access to space, but the quality of space science itself, by ensuring that 15% of the world’s population is not excluded”. Anna added, “We are honored to be working with a phenomenal and passionate team of nearly 100 individuals who are driving this mission forward, and welcome anyone who is interested in contributing to join our growing team.” AstroAccess co-founder and Executive Director Anna Voelker stated.
Returning flyer Mary Cooper, a Stanford master’s student in Aeronautics and Astronautics with a lower leg prosthesis, will fly in zero-g for her second time and plans to continue her work as an AstroAccess Ambassador. Mary described her feelings about the experience: “This second flight will enable us to build upon the important demonstrations we began in our first flight to show that space can be made accessible with simple changes that improve safety for everyone.”
Joining Mary and the other returning flyers on AA2 is a fresh group of new flyers. One of the new Ambassadors is Lindsay Yazzolino. As a blind person and science enthusiast, Lindsay is prepared to fulfill her lifelong dream of experiencing microgravity from a purely nonvisual perspective. Lindsay notes, “There currently exists a grand total of zero blind astronauts. I’m looking forward to collaboratively developing much-needed design practices for implementing nonvisual accessibility in all aspects of space travel.”
The flight research conducted by the AstroAccess Ambassadors would not be possible without the strong support from the AstroAccess ground crew. The ground and flight crew are collaborating to design experiments that will help AstroAccess demonstrate ways to make spaceflight more accessible in the future. Flight Ops Research Lead Corey McClelland puts it best, “The work that we’re doing at AstroAccess is laying the foundation for the future of human spaceflight. To democratize space, we’re expanding the notion of ‘the right stuff’ and doing the necessary research for inclusion to enable a wide range of people to fly.”
The AstroAccess 2022 flight costs have been generously sponsored through a philanthropic donation from Dylan Taylor, and the organization continues to be supported by ongoing funding from the Whitesides Foundation. AstroAccess is funded entirely by charitable donations, which can be made via the website.
More details about AstroAccess, including how to join the crew, can be found at https://astroaccess.org/. Information can also be found by following AstroAccess on social media site.
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