ERAU Launches Suborbital Space Flight Simulator

Photo Courtesy Laura Mayor

Laura Mayor/Suborbital Space Flight Simulator PR

Over this past summer, Embry-Riddle’s first ever Space Flight Simulator was born. It is called the Suborbital Space Flight Simulator, and it includes its very own Mission Control Center Academic Laboratory. These two parts will be integrated to provide students from different departments with many research opportunities.

The user will be able to fly a spacecraft into the mesosphere and research noctilucent clouds in a low orbit environment while wearing a fully pressurized space suit. All of this is done while communicating with the MCC (Mission Control Center), which will be manned by students from the Applied Aviation Sciences Department (Aerospace and Occupational Safety, Commercial Space Operations, Air Traffic Management, and Meteorology).

The simulator will also be used as part of the astronaut training program facilitated by the PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper AtMosphere) Academy.

The PoSSUM Academy is a week-long training program, taking place from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10, which will provide high-school and undergraduate students with an unforgettable experience and the knowledge to become an astronaut.

According to Gavin James, a student at Embry-Riddle participating in this year’s PoSSUM academy, “there is no other program in the world that will give the student the hands-on training opportunity to prepare them for a true scientific mission outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and be the difference we need the next generation to be in order to take mankind one step further”.

Gavin is a senior at Embry-Riddle completing a dual degree in Commercial Space Operation and Interdisciplinary Studies with minors in Space Studies, Physics, Human Factors, Computational Mathematics, and Aerospace Life Sciences.

During this year’s World Space Week (Oct. 4 to Oct. 10), Embry-Riddle will gladly welcome the twelve scientist-astronaut candidates participating in PoSSUM Academy. These lucky individuals will be trained on various subjects including high G environments, spacesuit operations, and life support systems.

Former NASA astronauts who bring their vast experience into the learning environment will instruct this advanced training. On Oct. 9, an industry meet-and-greet will provide Embry-Riddle students the opportunity to speak with experts in the field.

PoSSUM Academy is just the start of all the amazing things that the Suborbital Space Flight Simulator will bring to our community. The intent is that its usage will be incorporated into the coursework of students shortly, giving them an understanding of real-life scenarios while using the MCC.

We have seen interest from faculty, students, researchers, and even the media about the SSFS. We hope that in the very near future, Embry-Riddle will have its own space Institute.