Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wisconsin business plans manned Gemini-IR spaceflight for 2012

A Madison company has set an astronomical goal for itself - to launch a manned flight into space in the year 2012.

The organization’s name is Americans in Orbit -50 years, reflecting the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. manned orbital space flight of Friendship 7 that occurred on Feb. 20, 1962.

The group’s president is Craig Russell. He said the group’s spacecraft will be based on the Gemini spacecraft, but instead of splashing down somewhere in the middle of the ocean, the new craft, which is called Gemini-IR, will be able to touch down on land like the space shuttle does today.

It will carry two astronauts, Howard Chipman and Veronique Koken, along with about 10,000 pounds of research equipment from different universities.

The group has already finished forming its International Space Science Education program and they hope to begin construction on the spacecraft sometime next year.

The project is estimated cost between $30 -40 million. AIO has raised less than $1 million so far, but Russell remains optimistic.

This year on Feb. 20, AIO is holding a fundraiser at the Davidson Center in Huntsville. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the group’s website www.aio50.org.
Read more HERE.