Company offers luxurious 3-day astronaut training vacations

Capitalism in space: For those considering spending millions to buy an orbital tourist flight from SpaceX, a new company, Orbite, is now offering for only $29,000 a three day high-end astronaut training vacation that will include a short zero-gravity flight on an airplane.

[CEO Jason] Andrews and Orbite’s other co-founder, French-born tech entrepreneur Nicolas Gaume, have set the schedule for astronaut orientation courses that’ll include virtual-reality simulations, a zero-G flight and a high-G flight — all designed to provide a taste of space without tying the participant down to a particular program.

The first session will take place Aug. 23-27 at La Co(o)rniche, a five-star boutique hotel on France’s Atlantic coast that’s owned by Gaume’s family. Three other sessions will be offered at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, Fla., starting on Nov. 11, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2. Each session is limited to 10 participants.

Zero Gravity Corp. and Europe’s Air Zero G by Novespace will fly the participants on airplanes that can provide measured doses of weightlessness, about 30 seconds at a time. Other subcontractors will put them in the cockpits of planes such as P-51 Mustangs or Extra 330LX’s, which can deliver multiple G’s of acceleration.

In essence these training sessions are nothing more than a dressed up expensive vacation, though surely unique.
None of this training will qualify someone to fly in space, but it will give potential orbital and suborbital customers a taste of what to expect, which should help them decide if they want to cough up the bigger bucks necessary for the real deal.

Turkey negotiating with Russia to train its future astronauts

Turkey might not have yet established its space program, nor have any announced intention of sending anyone into space, but it is presently negotiating with Russia to send any of its future astronauts to Russia for training.

Turkey has confirmed its intention to send astronauts to Russia for training, as follows from a report uploaded to the website of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos on Thursday following a working meeting between Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin and Turkey’s Ambassador to Russia Mehmet Samsar.

“The Turkish side confirmed its original plans for having its astronauts trained in the Star City,” the news release runs. “In the conversation topical issues concerning mutually beneficial cooperation in space were discussed. The two sides noted the great potential and importance of this theme in relations between the two countries,” the news release adds.

Earlier, the Roscosmos CEO said a Turkish astronaut might go to the International Space Station in 2021-2023.

Roscosmos right now is the only place in the world that has an established program for training astronauts, and it is clearly trying to make itself the go-to place for this service. This in turn gives Russia a big advantage in any worldwide competition for flying tourists or international governmental astronauts. If Turkey for example needs to choose between buying astronaut tickets on SpaceX or Roscosmos, it will lean toward Roscosmos because that was where its astronauts were trained.