The Association of Spaceflight Professionals, Inc. has laid an important foundation and is poised for further growth. Key to our success over the past 12 months and beyond has been the dedication, courage, and commitment of several of our members.
We admire our grant-writing team who submitted a proposal to the NASA Flight Opportunities Program for a device called the Microgravity Environment Testbed for Validation of Cubesats (METVOC), which is designed to test cubesat-sized experiments on parabolic and suborbital flights. Some team members, such as Brien Posey, had never written a scientific grant before but participated anyways. We commend their courage to step up and become involved. Others have extensive grant-writing experience and provided excellent mentorship. All team members learned a lot.
Experiments and technologies we are developing for parabolic and suborbital flight continue to progress. We are grateful to the University of Toronto Department of Mechanical Engineering teams for their tremendous efforts. This year, they worked hard on two projects: a physical model of a bone cell and a lower body negative pressure sleeping bag. Many thanks goes to Dr. George Pantalos of the University of Louisville for lending us his very own lower body pressure sleeping bag for the team to work on. Once completed, we plan to apply for grant funding through the NASA Flight Opportunities Program and the Canadian Space Agency FAST grant to further develop these devices. By generating flight opportunities around these projects for our members, they will gain important skills to develop more human-tended payloads for parabolic and, eventually, suborbital flight. None of this would be possible without the efforts of Dr. Aaron Persad, who built a strong relationship with the University of Toronto. We wish him all the best with his work at the Karnik Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and are happy to announce that he is now a Director on our board at ASP.
A big thank-you goes to Andrew Butterfield and Troy Cole for organizing the New Space Researchers Workshop in conjunction with The Lab makerspace for the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers’ Conference this year. Those who attended enjoyed it immensely. Representatives from The Lab gave us important information about taking ideas for new technologies and developing prototypes using 3D printers, Arduino circuit boards, and other devices. Organizers of the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers’ Conference expressed interest in holding the workshop again at their next conference.
We are also grateful to Dr. Shawna Pandya for organizing the Space 101 course at the University of Alberta and inviting ASP members to create content for it. Developing this sort of educational material is vital for conveying key space concepts not only to the public, but to those who will actively shape the future of space exploration.
Happy holidays to everyone in the space community and beyond! To those who have been involved in our efforts, thank-you for your contributions, your support, and your faith in our mission to create the next generation of commercial astronauts. May your days be merry and bright. See you in the new year!