Spaceflight Training Program Gets FAA Approval

Waypoint 2 Space wants to teach you how to be an astronaut.

JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide takes a self-portrait during Expedition 32 in September 2012.

NASA

Head in the stars lately? Soon your body could join, but it will need some lessons first. Earlier this week, Waypoint 2 Space, a commercial spaceflight training company, received FAA safety approval for programs set to begin later this spring. The company joins a growing industry of programs and services for those hoping to catch a ride on private spaceships.

Waypoint 2 Space's multi-level training program includes fundamentals, like being able to operate in confined spaces, wear a pressure suit, and adapt to microgravity; suborbital training, which "prepares the participant to take full advantage of the 5 to 7 minutes of weightlessness" during a spaceflight; and finally the eight-week orbital training, which will be available in 2015 and teaches students how to deal with the physical and psychological challenges of prolonged spaceflight.

The price may be steep ($45,000), but it's 18 percent of the price of a ticket on Virgin Galactic. Prospective astronaut trainees need not have a ticket to space booked, though. The program is currently based out of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it collaborates with NASA.