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Nov. 15, 2022

Media advisory: Aspiring astronauts to train at UArizona

  • What: An opportunity to film and interview participants in the University of Arizona's new Center for Human Space Exploration astronaut training program
  • When: Friday, Nov. 18, 5-8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Where: The Friday and Sunday sessions will take place at Biosphere 2, 32540 S. Biosphere Road, in Oracle, Arizona, in the facility's lower habitat. Saturday's session will be at the Campus Recreation swimming pool. (Note: No footage of students is permitted)
  • RSVP: RSVP to Mikayla Kelley at by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, with the sessions you plan to attend.

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Center for Human Space Exploration at the University of Arizona's Biosphere 2 is launching its first astronaut training program with private aerospace company Uplift Aerospace. The training will run Nov. 18 to 20.

Founded this year, the Center for Human Space Exploration, or CHaSE, is a research and development facility focused on furthering the sustainable presence of humans in the solar system and beyond. Its mission is to foster the global space community through accessible and experiential training opportunities. With access to world-class facilities, CHaSE offers training and post-training resources to anyone interested, including students, professionals and members of the public.

The first class to go through the CHaSE program includes commercial astronaut candidate Ruben Salinas, who was selected by Uplift Aerospace to participate in an upcoming  spaceflight. He will be joined in the training program by four other commercial astronaut trainees selected by Uplift Aerospace to participate in Space+, a private space program launched earlier this year.

The training classes will be taught by CHaSE's founding director Trent Tresch; astronaut Sian "Leo" Proctor, who piloted SpaceX's Inspiration4 all-civilian orbital mission to space; and Mira Milas, executive director of UArizona's APEX aerospace medicine fellowship. Co-founding director of CHaSE Kai Staats, who is also the research director of the Biosphere 2 Space Analog for the Moon and Mars, will help facilitate.

"CHaSE seeks to bridge the gap between traditional and new age aerospace," Tresch said. "To create humanity's future in space we need people with all skillsets. The astronaut training program will be open to people of all backgrounds, including students, engineers, scientists, artists, welders and plumbers, for example. This is just the beginning."

The class will complete a series of lectures and exercises at Biosphere 2 and on the university campus and provide feedback to Tresch and Staats on the curriculum.

The Space+ trainees will be joined in the UArizona training program by three ambassadors from the nonprofit AstroAccess, which has a mission to advance disability inclusion in space, and by humanoid robot Bina48 from Terasem Movement Foundation. The robot's participation in the program will help investigate the applications of machine intelligence for future human-crewed space missions.

Media are invited to attend the following:

  • On Friday, Nov. 18, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Biosphere 2, the astronaut class will do pressure suit training. They will practice putting on the spacesuits, pressurizing them and removing them.
  • On Saturday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Campus Recreation swimming pool, the class will practice spacecraft egress and sea survival skills, using a life raft and exposure suits.
  • On Sunday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., members of the class will be available for on-camera interviews at the Biosphere 2 lower habitat.
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Media contact:
Mikayla Mace Kelley
University Communications
The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2020 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $761 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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