The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the Universities Space Research Association, and NASA sponsored the second Commercial Suborbital Science Workshop, which focused on biological sciences and aeromedical research, at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, May 3, 2009. This event was held in conjunction with the Aerospace Medical Association's Annual Meeting.
Vehicles under development by commercial suborbital companies, such as Virgin Galactic, Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, and XCOR Aerospace, will allow unprecedented access to the space environment. The unique ability to carry biological payloads, and eventually human researchers, in a shirtsleeve environment will enable new research in aerospace medicine and other life sciences, including neuro-vestibular research, sensorimotor adaptation, and acute cellular responses. Rapid turnaround and fly on demand capabilities will create new opportunities at a lower cost than many existing methods of research. In addition, these new vehicles can offer an affordable platform for risk reduction and flight qualification of experimental hardware.
The purpose of this workshop was to bring interested researchers together with suborbital vehicle developers to begin to understand the potential of these vehicles by engaging in small group discussions and exchanging technical information. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about the options offered by a wide range of commercial suborbital service providers and discuss the capabilities, needs, constraints, and opportunities of this program. Equally important, commercial suborbital service providers will have the opportunity to receive input on how their vehicles can be made to best be of service to your research community.
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Click to view Workshop Presentations