Aerospace companies team up for space training in West Texas

MIDLAND, Texas — If you didn’t know, West Texas had a part in the moon landing.

“People don’t remember it anymore but all the Apollo astronauts from Neil Armstrong to Cernan, the last man on the moon, trained here in West Texas for field training in geology,” said Kalle Vaha-Jaakkola with Space Nation.

Astronauts trained in parts of West Texas like the Sierra Blanca Mountains because of similar terrain to places like the moon, and now the group Space Nation is doing training missions right here in West Texas.

Local aerospace companies and other Midland groups are teaming up so everyday people get the chance to become space travelers.

“Most don’t want to go to space but they are excited about the adventure, they are excited about the team building experience they get or the team building experience they get so it’s an overall experience which has the real roots in astronaut training and space training, not just for people who want to go to space,” said Vaha-Jaakkola.

Part of that training is going to places in West Texas that resemble the moon like Big Bend or the Sandhills State Park in spacesuits.

“A big part of space suits is when you go out to the moon base for example on the moon or Mars, you cover yourself in shelter from the hostile environment that there is. There’s no real atmosphere, it’s almost like a vacuum depending where you are,” Vaha-Jaakkola said.

Missiongoers will also visit Kepler in Midland and experience their one-of-a-kind vacuum chamber that real astronauts train in.

“We want to get them used to the idea that they’re going to be in a semi-hazardous environment and they must be prepared psychologically for that, and they must be prepared if something goes wrong,” said Dr. John Brandenburg PH.D, Senior Scienctist for Kepler.

You can find out more about Space Nation and events they are having throughout West Texas on their website.

Author: Rachel Robinson
NewsWest9

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