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NASTAR Center Completes First ATSA Suborbital Scientist Observatory Training

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. July 26, 2011 ® The Citadel South Carolina

The Atsa project will use a reusable suborbital spacecraft equipped with a specially designed telescope to provide low-cost space-based observations above the contaminating atmosphere of Earth, while avoiding some operational constraints of satellite telescope systems.

This was the first dedicated NASTAR Suborbital Scientist training program of its kind focused on a single project. "NASTAR is providing essential input for designing the training regimen we will require for Atsa operators," said Faith Vilas, PSI Senior Scientist and Atsa Project Scientist.

Luke Sollitt The Citadel

The three-day NASTAR Suborbital Scientist course equips individuals with hands-on knowledge and skills to safely cope with the rigors of suborbital spaceflight and gives an understanding of the challenges involved with conducting experiments in space. The course includes four core elements: Altitude Physiology, G-Tolerance, Space Launch and Reentry Training, and Distraction Management.

High-altitude physiology training enables trainees to experience the effects of hypoxia or oxygen-deprivation firsthand with an altitude chamber flight to 25,000 feet. Trainees also learn safety protocols and considerations in a loss of cabin pressure event.  

G-tolerance flights introduce trainees to the physiological and physiological acceleration effects of spaceflight and teach ways to mitigate the symptoms of gravity-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC). Simulated space flights are conducted on the NASTAR Phoenix STS-400 centrifuge where trainees learn to handle the maximum acceleration G loads encountered during launch and reentry up to 3.5 times Earth’s gravity oriented up-and-down (eyeballs-down) and 6 times Earth’s gravity oriented front-to-back (eyeballs-in).

Participants also complete a distraction/time management exercise to demonstrate the need for teamwork, planning, and practice prior to conducting suborbital research experiments in order to maximize mission success during short duration suborbital flights.

"Atsa telescope operations commence immediately after the spacecraft’s main engine cutoff," Vilas said. "For this reason, the NASTAR training included flight simulation profiles for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and a vehicle approximating XCOR’s Lynx, so we could test how human performance would be affected by recently experienced G-forces."

Brent Garry Mark Sykes Melissa Lane Andrew Strasburger Wofford College Daniel Showers Clemson University Ryan Boodee Daniel Pittman The Citadel

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Forward-looking Statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to uncertainties and changes in circumstances.  Words and expressions reflecting something other than historical fact are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements.  The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including those discussed in "Risk Factors" included in the Company’s most-recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.  We caution you not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.


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