London, 20 October 2023 – International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS)
bioastronautics researcher and payload specialist Kellie Gerardi will represent the Institute on the ‘Galactic 05’ research spaceflight with Virgin Galactic, IIAS announced.
Virgin Galactic Holdings have announced the ‘Galactic 05’ flight window will open on the 2nd of November 2023. It will be the company’s sixth spaceflight this year and it will see the spaceship converted again into a suborbital space lab for space-based research.
Besides Gerardi, the crew will include also Dr. Alan Stern, a US planetary scientist and associate vice president in Southwest Research Institute’s Space Sector, and a private astronaut of Franco-Italian nationality. Kellie Gerardi has featured on SpaceWatch.global’s podcast which you can find here.
In 2021, IIAS announced Gerardi as the world’s first industry-sponsored researcher contracted to fly on a commercial spacecraft. During the spaceflight, Gerardi will operate three payload experiments focused on fluid dynamics, human biometrics, and glucose monitoring. Gerardi will also be evaluating the researcher experience in order to improve science and operational protocols for future IIAS-sponsored research spaceflights and training programs. Virgin Galactic and IIAS have collaborated closely on payload integration and in-flight choreography to maximise the science and technology advancements gained from the Galactic 05 mission.
“IIAS has long been dedicated to producing professionals who enable an inclusive spacefaring future led by research of global benefit,” said Dr. Jason Reimuller, IIAS Executive Director. “Throughout her work with IIAS, Kellie has consistently demonstrated an exceptional ability to further novel research in dynamic, operational environments and we are proud to celebrate the milestone of our first research spaceflight together with Virgin Galactic.”
IIAS researchers Yvette Gonzalez, Dr. Aaron Persad, and Dr. Shawna Pandya will join Gerardi on-site at Spaceport America for payload integration support and post-flight data analysis.