Astronaut scientists for hire open new research frontier in space

March 2, 2011

Spaceship Two (credit: Virgin Galactic)

At a joint press conference Monday with Virgin Galactic at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, XCOR, SwRI, and others, Astronauts for Hire Inc. announced the selection of its third class of commercial scientist-astronaut candidates to conduct experiments on suborbital flights.

Among those selected was Singularity University inaugural program faculty advisor, teaching fellow, and track chair Christopher Altman, a graduate fellow at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology.

“The selection process was painstaking,” said Astronauts for Hire Vice President and Membership Chair Jason Reimuller. “We had to choose a handful of applicants who showed just the right balance of professional establishment, broad technical and operational experience, and a background that indicates adaptability to the spaceflight environment.”

“With the addition of these new members to the organization, Astronauts for Hire has solidified its standing as the premier provider of scientist-astronaut candidates,” said its President Brian Shiro. “Our diverse pool of astronauts in training represent more than two dozen disciplines of science and technology, speak sixteen languages, and hail from eleven countries. We can now handle a much greater range of missions across different geographic regions.”

Christopher Altman

Altman completed Zero-G and High-Altitude Physiological Training under the Reduced Gravity Research Program at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, and was tasked to represent NASA Ames at the joint US-Japan space conference (JUSTSAP) and the launch conference (PISCES) for an astronaut training facility on the slopes of Mauna Kea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Altman’s research has been highlighted in international press and publications including Discover Magazine and the International Journal of Theoretical Physics. He was recently awarded a fellowship to explore the foundations and future of quantum mechanics at the Austrian International Akademie Traunkirchen with Anton Zeilinger.

“The nascent field of commercial spaceflight and the unique conditions afforded by space and microgravity environments offer exciting new opportunities to conduct novel experiments in quantum entanglement, fundamental tests of spacetime, and large-scale quantum coherence,” said Altman.