How AstroAccess plans to make space more accessible

AstroAccess, a nonprofit that promotes disability inclusion in space, has partnered with the Aurelia Institute to advance astronaut diversity by doing research on zero-gravity missions.

“In one sense, space is the ultimate equalizer: everyone who leaves Earth is subject to the radical experience of leaving gravity behind,” the Aurelia Institute said in a blog post this month. But in another sense, real barriers to entry still exist for astronauts—be it cost, physical access, or lack of outreach.

In an effort to change this, Aurelia led the Horizon 2022 zero-gravity flight, which took place on May 22, with 25 crew participants from various organizations, including “ambassadors” for AstroAccess. The 90-minute mission simulated space flight with 20 parabolas of lunar, Martian, and zero gravity that lasted about 20 seconds each.

Mission basics

Each crew member on the Horizon flight had a research goal, art project, or storytelling task to complete while in microgravity. AstroAccess’s participants focused on specific new tests and experiments: