Below is a year in review and a summary of our goals for 2019. I am grateful for the dedication of our executive team and the hard work of key members in accomplishing all that we did.
Work proceeds steadily on our various space projects. Jeremy Saget and the student engineering team at the University of Toronto continue to do amazing work designing and building the next iteration of our lower body negative pressure sleeping bag prototype. Many thanks also go to Dave Wassell, our Physical Sciences Working Group Team Lead, who has spearheaded much of this year’s grant-writing efforts for our microgravity test bed. Thanks to his and Aaron Persad’s ingenuity, Near Space Corporation expressed interest in collaborating with ASP to create an uncrewed version of the test bed for use on their high altitude shuttle system.
Shawna Pandya, Brien Posey, and Aaron Persad also deserve our gratitude for their work creating educational content. Special recognition goes to Gwen Schroeder and Shawna for starting a literature review of medical guidelines for suborbital spaceflight participants.
Not to be forgotten is Casey Stedman, who tirelessly traveled to the International Space Development Conference and Gateway to Space this year to ensure ASP’s presence. He also conceived of the idea to give all ASP members a pin with our logo. We are deeply grateful for his efforts.
Makiah Eustice did an excellent job of recruiting fellow students from Texas A & M University to ASP. We are excited to welcome Lindsay Stapleton and Reed Way to the organization this year! I enjoyed meeting all of them in person along with many other bright, dedicated engineering students at the SEDS Space Vision 2018 conference.
Also not to be missed is the enthusiasm and hard work of Andrew Butterfield. Much of his efforts happened behind the scenes, yet is crucial to ASPs continued operation. Andrew completed the necessary paperwork to keep us in compliance with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services this year and selflessly purchased QuickBooks to provide us with crisp, professional financial statements. Thank-you Andrew! Your enthusiasm is infectious and pushes us to always do better.
Our goals for 2019 are ambitious yet doable. We will submit both microgravity test bed grant proposals to NASA Flight Opportunities in March. If we receive funding from NASA, we anticipate creating funded flight opportunities on parabolic aircraft in the near future, which will build our capabilities to engage in future suborbital activities. Our lower body negative pressure sleeping bag should be at TRL-4 by May 2019, enabling us to craft grant proposals around it.
Developing more, higher quality educational content and experiences is also key. This will impart skills members can use to participate in our projects or create their own. Of great importance is improving the seamlessness of our online platform and accessibility of its content to create a better user experience. Holding our New Space Researchers’ Workshop in 2019 with a focus on rapid prototyping techniques such as 3D printing will also give members and the general public greater confidence to work on and create space projects.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the tumultuousness of our world today. It is hard to know how to make things better. Something that has been on my mind is the incredible feat achieved at the height of the Cold War when Apollo and Soyuz capsules achieved hard dock on July 17th, 1975 at 12:12pm over the Atlantic ocean. To me, this illustrates the tremendous power of space exploration to unify and inspire us to be our best. Surviving in such a harsh environment demands us to be collaborative, kind, generous, and capable. We need more of these qualities in our world. It is the main reason I devote my time to fulfilling ASP’s mission of having our members fly in space one day. The more people undertake space travel, the better our world will be.
Best wishes for a wonderful rest of your holiday season and a prosperous new year!
President and CEO
Association of Spaceflight Professionals Inc.