Space is not just the final frontier. It’s the citizen-science frontier. Thanks to rapid advances in technology, it’s now possible for citizen scientists to build high-quality space-science hardware with off-the-shelf components.
Interest in citizen science and participatory exploration has exploded in recent years. New technologies are making it easier for private citizens to become involved in the scientific process. More and more, the professional scientific community is recognizing the importance of contributions made by dedicated amateurs. Citizen scientists are discovering exoplanets and dinosaurs, monitoring climate and endangered species, and helping to map the human genome.
The development of low-cost reusable suborbital spacecraft will be the next great enabler, allowing citizens to participate in space exploration and space science. The development of low-cost reusable suborbital spacecraft will be the next great enabler, allowing citizens to participate in space exploration and space science.
Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, is riding this new wave of citizen science citizen space exploration.
For the first phase of our project, we have acquired an initial contract for 10 suborbital spaceflights with one of the new space transportation companies — XCOR Aerospace. This represents, to the best of our knowledge, the largest single bulk purchase of suborbital flights to date. We will be making payload space on these flights available to citizen scientists and to professional researchers who play by our open-source rules. We expect to fly up to 100 small experiments in our initial flight campaign. For information on submitting payloads, see our Call for Experiments.
Citizens in Space will also select and train 10 citizen astronauts to fly as payload operators. We have three astronaut candidates already in training. We’ll be recruiting seven more over the next 12 to 24 months.
For more information on our program, click here.