Photo Brian Posey, 2016.
At ASP, we are developing the next generation of commercial spaceflight professionals through the creation of educational, research, certification, and mission opportunities.
To make this possible, we envision a global, multidisciplinary membership whose common goal is the achievement of key milestones in human spaceflight. Ultimately, to make these milestones possible, ASP will facilitate the development of a highly qualified spaceflight professional community.
The Association of Spaceflight Professionals (ASP) is a US-based 501(c)3 non-profit corporation whose core focus is the development of the spaceflight industry and its professionals. ASP was founded in 2010, guided by the vision of a highly qualified corps of commercial flight crew. Since then, ASP’s offerings have continued to evolve, and now encompass educational and training opportunities for students and professionals aiming to advance their careers as part of an industry whose capabilities continue to evolve. A central component of this capacity is technology development: ASP members can access resources to support technology maturation for terrestrial and space-based applications.
The future for commercial human spaceflight is bright. ASP anticipates the need for qualified spaceflight professionals to aid in the advancement of core milestones, from suborbital to orbital to planetary transfer mission architectures. To meet this demand, ASP continues to develop training and certification opportunities for its members, and to directly connect ongoing technology development projects with students and funding stakeholders. Sustainable development of human spaceflight will require the harmonization of efforts across commercial providers, a role that a third party can provide industry-wide.
ASP was founded as A4H by Brian Shiro and Veronica Zabala-Aliberto, with the goal of selecting and training the first class of fully qualified commercial astronauts.
An inaugural class of members completed suborbital research scientist training, underwater emergency egress and sea survival training, and spatial orientation-disorientation testing and acclimation, with performance standards meeting FAA Commercial Astronaut certification guidelines (14 CFR 460, Office of Commercial Space Transportation). Selection and training standards incorporated guidance from a panel of veteran NASA astronauts, astronaut trainers, and experienced spaceflight professionals. Several members of this inaugural class were interviewed as finalists in national space agency astronaut candidate selection campaigns.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation officially welcomed A4H as one of its Research and Education Affiliates. Also, A4H entered into a research and training partnership with the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory with the purpose of improving task performance in microgravity conditions and mitigating space motion sickness. FuzeBox offered to support A4H with its web-based videoconferencing and collaboration software. Through this, A4H gained the ability to host online meetings for its members from the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
In partnership with the 4-Pines Brewing Company and Saber Astronautics, A4H Flight Member Todd Romberger tested Vostok Space Beer in a parabolic flight campaign in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This constituted humanity's first formal study of alcohol absorption in microgravity.
Vital Space Inc. and A4H validated the ViSi Mobile FDA-approved vital sign monitoring system built by Sotera Wireless Inc. in partnership with the Scripps Translational Science Institute. A4H flight members Jason Reimuller and Brian Shiro served as test subjects and provided operational expertise for the study. This flight research campaign occurred over 4 days and involved 160 microgravity parabolas and received funding from the NASA Flight Opportunities Program. MEDgle provided data analysis services for the campaign.
A4H and the NASTAR Center signed a services agreement to develop training programs for A4H's commercial astronaut candidates.
Michael Gallagher, a civilian physician caring for soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces, took over as the President and CEO of A4H from Brian Shiro. The organization was rebranded as the Association of Spaceflight Professionals (ASP) and placed a greater focus on human-tended space technology development in partnership with universities to enable spaceflight opportunity for its membership.
ASP focused its presence at major industry conferences to present on some of the latest topics in human research and crewed missions. These included the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC), the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), and NASA Human Research Program Investigators Workshop (NASA HRP IWS).
At NASA HRP IWS, ASP presented its collaborative work with University of Toronto university students on a lower body negative pressure (LBNP) sleeping bag prototype. ASP continues to administer the work of university student teams for the development of the LBNP sleeping bag as well as an autotransfusion device designed for orbital use, with TRL levels of 3 and 2, respectively. Applications for the use of a free-floating locker, at TRL 5, continues to be explored.
Its membership continues to author and present on human spaceflight topics based on individual and team expertise, further developing the Space 101 Lecture Series as an important way to connect with subject matter experts. Sessions include talks on immunology in sustained microgravity, flight crew nutrition, and resilience in Isolated, Confined, and Extreme (ICE) environments, among others.
ASP members attend International Astronautical Congress, the NOLS Wilderness Risk Management Conference, the NASA Human Research Program Investigators' Workshop, the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers' Conference, Aerospace Medical Association Annual Scientific Meetings, and ASCEND. Besides multiple technical publications and presentations, ASP members contribute to policy and design dialogues in workshops and panels across these events. See the ASCENDxSummit: Space Policy as an example, as well as ASCEND META 11 and ASCEND PANEL 44.
ASP advances a framework aimed at leveraging integrated technology and professional development. ASP continues conversations with launch providers and technology design teams, focusing on partnerships for funding facilitation. In new international partnerships, ASP initiates a collaboration for formal research and training at the university level.
ASP also develops streamlined digital member services that will allow for integrated workflows in its three core services.
Learn more in Our Work.