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9 Things You Can Do In Space Right Now

I was looking for a business card in my wallet this morning when I noticed a startling lack of $200,000.

Apparently I won’t be travelling into space today. I’m not counting on going tomorrow either. The odds are good that you’re lacking that kind of funding also.

But you know what? That’s ok, you don’t need it to be involved in space efforts today.

Feast your eyes, here are 9 things you can do – today – mostly without your feet leaving the ground.

1. Get some space training at NASTAR
www.nastarcenter.com, Basic Suborbital Space Training, $3,000
So even if you’re unable or unwilling to travel into space personally, you can still get a taste of a few things real astronauts do to prepare for a mission. Imagine enjoying a simulated spaceflight after being given an overview of exactly how a pressure suit works, as well as learning how to stay healthy in a zero-gravity environment.

And speaking of zero-gravity…

2. Go Weightless with Zero Gravity Corporation
www.gozerog.com, Zero Gravity Flight Experience, $4,950
Most of us have flown in an airliner at least once. However, once at altitude, odds are that the plane you flew on stayed more or less level until nearing your destination. But where’s the fun in that? Imagine if the pilot started taking the plane through a series of parabolic arcs, during which you got to experience weightlessness while the plane descended?

Still a bit pricey? No problem…

3. Send your face to space with Photos to Space
www.photostospace.com, Basic Photo Flight, $1.95
Ok, so even $3,000 is still high for most of us. You can still participate in space activities in the form of having the photo(s) of your choosing sent in space on a suborbital flight and returned to you along with a certificate and record of the flight data. It makes a great gift, certainly better than yet another necktie or sweater.

Still not your cup of tea? No problem there either…

4. Read all about space on various blogs and news sites
HobbySpace, Parabolic Arc, Space.com, IO9, AmericaSpace
Perhaps you’d rather simply take a seat in the stands and watch the action from the sidelines. There are several websites and blogs that can be of use. Believe me, there’s so much information presented on the above blog sites that you could spend several hours a day looking at nothing else.

But imagine being a student with no time to read anything other than a schoolbook…

5. Send a small payload to space with JP Aerospace
www.jpaerospace.com, PongSat Flights, no cost to students/schools
Ever played table tennis? The ball usually doesn’t get higher than 6 or 7 inches above the table. Big deal. Suppose the ball could get up to 100,000 feet, though. Also, imagine that the ball had whatever you wanted inside it, a small experiment all your own. Well, that can be done today also. Private space is still young, and because of that, it’s important to get young people interested.

What? You’ve already graduated and need a challenging job?

6. Work for an out of this world company like Planetary Resources
www.planetaryresources.com
One of my favorite movies is about a group of 7 blue-collar workers aboard a mining and refinery ship. Ok, so maybe they have a less than ideal day in the story, but the day is rapidly approaching in which mining in space will be a reality. And in order for that to happen, miners will be essential, for obvious reasons. And yes, I’m sure it will be safe to chase the cat.

But you’d rather stay on Earth and work? Ok, how about…

7. Design and build your own CubeSat
www.pumpkininc.com, CubeSat kits, $7,500 – $8,750
Imagine not having to imagine building and programming your own satellite. This also can be done today. Maybe you have an idea for an orbiting craft that will do something that nothing currently in space does. It can be done, and you can do it.

Still too pricey? Check this out…

8. Rent time on a real spacecraft like ArduSat
www.ardusat.org, Satellite Rental, $50 – $975
If there’s already a satellite in orbit doing something that interests you, but you’re not satisfied just to follow that craft’s progress, you can involve yourself by leasing time on a satellite already in flight. Think about it. Your name could be counted among those whose names are already immortalized as having contributed to space research.

So unmanned endeavors still just don’t do it for you?

9. Send your own experiment to the ISS with NanoRacks
www.nanoracks.com, $30,000 and up
It’s even possible to get your experiment or payload all the way to the ISS and tended to by the astronauts aboard. Expensive for many still, but still a more affordable alternative to a personal journey.

And the list goes on. These are just a few of the ways you can take part in the adventure, and the possibilities are growing with each passing day.

So which will you do?

Dream…

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