17 Oct Project PoSSUM Graduates Eight Scientist-Astronaut Candidates along with first Advanced PoSSUM Academy class at Embry-Riddle.

Project PoSSUM, a non-profit research program devoted to the study of Earth’s upper atmosphere, announced that it has graduated eight new Scientist-Astronaut Candidates as part of PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 1602 along with the first ‘Advanced PoSSUM Academy’ class. Both courses have been designed by former NASA astronaut instructors and are hosted at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. and prepare students to conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of an international research campaign dedicated to the study of our global climate.

“The diversity of this class demonstrates that global climate research and manned spaceflight are intrinsically international efforts”, commented PoSSUM Executive Director Dr. Jason Reimuller, “This class brought students from Italy, Angola, India, and the United States”

Next up for the new PoSSUM graduates is an opportunity to evaluate spacesuits on zero-G parabolic flights in Ottawa, Ontario next month as part of the PoSSUM Bioastronautics Program. In this program, the students will learn about microgravity research campaign planning and operations while they evaluate prototype spacesuits, spacecraft seat concepts, suit/seat interfaces, and ingress and egress procedures. Additionally, graduates will participate in educational outreach programs and technology development programs in preparation for suborbital research missions.

The PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Program is an intense training curriculum that covers atmospheric science, remote sensing, celestial mechanics, particle scattering, spaceflight physiology and PoSSUM instrument operations. At Embry-Riddle, students received comprehensive spacesuit training, mission simulation training, high-altitude and hypoxia awareness training, and aerospace physiology training with world-champion aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff. Graduates also received three Continuing Education Units in ‘Suborbital Mission Operations’ from Embry-Riddle.

The eight graduating candidates of Scientist-Astronaut Class 1602 include Avishek Ghosh of Strasbourg, France; Rossana Fernandes of Daytona Beach, Fla.; Karen Brun of Oscoda, Mich.; Pranit Patil of Panvel, India; Emerald Ainge of Boulder, Colo.; Hady Ghassabian Gilan of Verona, Italy; Dr. Diane Howard of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Alexander Horvath of Fairfax Station, Va. The Advanced PoSSUM Academy course brought students from Egypt, Portugal, El Salvador, and the United States.

Twelve new candidates will be selected for PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 1701, which will both take place at Embry-Riddle from April 8-14, 2017. Interested individuals should apply online at www.projectpossum.org.

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