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With a mission to democratise space travel, Space Nation are making space odyssey a reality. Mazdak Nassir, co-founder of Space Nation, sat with Nick Hall to explain the new frontier of tourism.

Space Nation

Calmly and confidently, Mazdak describes the futurama-esque experience Space Nation are developing whereby the advancements in the space industry have made getting into space cheaper and more sustainable. Companies like Space X and Blue Origin have made technological strides to produce space travel vessels that are more reusable, making each trip much less costly than systems of the past.

Current leading space exploration authorities are extremely strict and selective with who they put in an astronaut suit. Providing you have a top flight STEM degree and after years of rigorous training behind you, maybe NASA will let you flick the light switch in the rocket’s cockpit. Nassir and his colleagues are here to loosen those requirements.

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Space Nation identify a distinction between professional astronauts and ‘citizen astronauts,’ thus defining the skills needed to wear each title. Participants still need to be trained for a journey into the great expanse however, so Space Nation mirror their pedagogy with contemporary education philosophies of their homeland, Finland, letting the student have more control over their course through a curriculum.

How much time have you spent playing Angry birds? Flappy Bird? Duck Hunter? Angry birds 2? Too much.

The point isn’t that bird based games are surprisingly ubiquitous, but rather that we easily devote our time to things when we are thoroughly entertained - this is exactly the ideology Space Nation mould their astronaut training around.

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They deliver their selection and training process through their mobile app, the Space Nation Navigator, essentially putting a ticket to outer space into anybody’s back pocket. Nassir expresses a disdain for a regimented routine, indicating its time to leave the outdated system in the history books. Instead, potential astronauts compete in game-like challenges designed to improve cognitive and creative skills in an engaging and encouraging fashion. The 100 best players on the will be entered into a more intensive astronaut training program spanning several months, after which, one future astronaut is selected for a trip into space.

Take note of the ambition and assurance Nassir carries. Space Nation aren’t naive, wide-eyed kids on the block. They’ve faced challenges and resistance head on, picking up friends in high places along the way. Their vision is supported by the eventual backing from NASA, including a signed Space Act Agreement between the two, and its execution facilitated by another partner of the company, Axiom. Both helping them breathe extra-terrestrial life into the tourism sector.

Mazdaks’s humility is astounding considering the context of the conversation. We’re talking about turning science fiction into science fact. Space travel. Space tours. Space hotels! More excitingly, Space Nation aim to begin the selection process within the coming three months, so suborbital travel isn’t actually that far away. And as technology continues to improve and the industry expands, more and more people will be afforded the opportunity to fly beyond the outer atmosphere. The first trip will prove to be one small step for Space Nation, one giant leap for space tourism.

For more information, be sure to see Mazdaks’s colleague Katja Presnal in Helsinki at this year’s #Global, speaking galactically.

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