Virgin Galactic has revealed plans to send a scientist to the edge of space, as microbiologist Kelly Girardi at IIAS will travel aboard VSS Unity when commercial flights begin, and the institute is paying $600,000 (422,694). £) for Girardi’s ticket to space on a flight that is not expected to launch until next year at the earliest, when the testing program is due to end.
According to the British newspaper, “Daily Mail”, the researcher’s trip includes trying a special suit under her flight suit to see how it responds during high-gravity launch and in low-gravity.
It will also test the way fluids behave in low gravity, potentially leading to better ways of giving injections in space, by reducing the amount of air.
“I am researching the ways in which analog space environments such as zero gravity affect the human body,” Girardi said.
“For me, this has meant testing and evaluating technologies like prototyping commercial spacesuits, or doing human-leaning research similar to what I’m going to try in space with Virgin.”
“This is the first time that an institute like my research institute has been able to send one of their researchers into space to become a world astronaut,” Girardi explained.