Astronaut Readiness Program launches

Virgin Galactic's first wave of Future Astronauts begin preparations for space travel

The first group of Future Astronauts going through Virgin Galactic's Readiness Program in late November 2019

Virgin Galactic has this month begun preparing its ‘Future Astronaut’ customers for their space flights, commencing its week-long ‘Astronaut Readiness Program’.

The company said it has begun finalising all elements of the customer experience, including the Under Armour spacesuits and the fit-out of Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space HQ at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The next phase in this process is to ensure that Future Astronauts are optimally prepared to fly to space.

The Astronaut Readiness Program launched at the Under Armour Global Headquarters in Baltimore, preparing the first batch of Future Astronauts for space travel and running them through flight preparation activities, which includes being fitted for their ‘spacewear system‘.

“Through completing this unique program they are helping us to tailor and perfect the program for those who follow,” Virgin Galactic said.

The fittings are being carried out now, so the tailored training suits and space suits for the maiden Virgin Galactic Astronauts will be ready and waiting when they arrive at Spaceport America for final flight preparation and spaceflight.

Chief Pilot Dave Mackay with Future Astronauts

As part of the Readiness Program, in sessions led by Chief Astronaut Instructor, Beth Moses, and Chief Pilot, Dave Mackay, Virgin Galactic shared more detailed information with Future Astronauts about what to expect from preparation time at Spaceport America and from the spaceflight itself. Both Moses and Mackay flew to space in February, so were able to provide insights based on actual experience.

Future Astronauts met with the company’s in-house medical teams who conducted specially formatted Medical Consultations. But the health and fitness assessments won’t be as hardcore as those NASA demanded of its astronauts, with Virgin Galactic stating “our Future Astronauts will not need to meet the incredibly rigorous levels of fitness required of government space agency”.

The Under Armour team led sessions on mobility and nutrition, another element of the program that aims to use health and fitness as a tool to optimise the spaceflight experience.

Lead image: Virgin Galactic kicks off Astronaut Readiness Program (images supplied)

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