SPACE.com Senior Writer Clara Moskowitz: It’s Day One of my 3-day spaceflight training program at the Pennsylvania NASTAR facility and I’m unsure of what…Read More »
to expect. The facility coaches scientists and tourists planning on suborbital rides, plus it hosts a plethora of other space and aviation simulators for pilots of all stripes. Less «
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Suit Up for Space Training
After arriving we were fitted up with space jumpsuits to get us feeling like astronauts. Here, I pose in front of the centrifuge’s cockpit, where I am…Read More »
about to strap in for some added Gs. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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Our first training runs were a relatively mild 2 G’s (twice the force of gravity), but by day three we were dealing with 6 G’s and forces in two directions.…Read More »
Here, the centrifuge arm spins to simulate extra gravity with centrifugal force. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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Hitting the Books
My fellow trainees and I sit in NASTAR’s classroom while an instructor teaches us what to expect from our mock spaceflights. The other participants were…Read More »
all research scientists preparing to take experiments to space to take advantage of microgravity. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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The Hot Seat
A view inside the cockpit of the centrifuge shows the chair where we're strapped in, as well as the "motion sickness bags," just in case. — Clara Moskowitz.
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Inside the Centrifuge
While each trainee rode on the simulator, the rest of us looked on in jealousy (or in my case, abject terror) from a viewing room above. The center screen…Read More »
is the view from the cockpit, showing the simulated sights of the flight, while the side panels show our compatriot from different angles during the ride. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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Waiting for "Blastoff"
At NASTAR's spaceflight training, I went last of all seven trainees, so I had plenty of time to build up my panic as each person weathered the storm before…Read More »
me. Here I sit with fellow student Kara Beaton of Johns Hopkins University. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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Have Helmet, Will Travel
At NASTAR, we also underwent pressure training in a hypobaric chamber to feel what it's like when the air is slowly sucked out of a room (fun!). Here I…Read More »
walk toward the chamber holding my oxygen mask, which we wore in case we needed an emergency hit of air. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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In the oxygen mask while sitting in the NASTAR's hypobaric chamber. I look just like Tom Cruise in Top Gun – right? — Clara Moskowitz.
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G Forces ... Rising
While riding on the centrifuge, these gauges showed our simulated altitude and gravity forces at all times. The highest we went was 6 Gs, though some training…Read More »
programs pack on even more. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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In the Waiting Room
A shot from the NASTAR viewing room while I rode the simulator, with me strapped in as my "spaceship" took off. — Clara Moskowitz.
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Voice of Reason
Our trainer, Glenn King, was the voice of reassurance while we rode the centrifuge, offering advice and encouragement if our vision started to blur from lack of oxygen. — Clara Moskowitz.
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Here We Go!
It was an utter shock – and quite a thrill – when the simulated spaceship dropped from its mother plane and fired its rocket engines to ascend to space. — Clara Moskowitz.
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All Systems Go
After a couple of practice sessions I was raring to go for the full-on flight profile of SpaceShipOne, which NASTAR uses for practice until data for Virgin…Read More »
Galactic's new SpaceShipTwo is available. Here, I'd just strapped into the cockpit. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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Space Graduation Day
At the end of our suborbital spaceflight training program each trainee was awarded a certificate in our graduation ceremony. While it may seem silly, that…Read More »
piece of paper represents a major achievement for me – I really wasn't sure I could handle the intense training beforehand. What an amazing relief once I'd made it through! Here I stand with King and Brienna Henwood, NASTAR's director of space training and research. — Clara Moskowitz. Less «
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Clara has been SPACE.com's Assistant Managing Editor since 2011, and has been writing for SPACE.com and LiveScience since 2008. Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what her latest project is, you can follow Clara on Google+.