When you talk about “sending the winner to space”, what does that mean?

Our aim is to give the winner of the first year of the Space Nation Astronaut Program an unforgettable experience. If everything goes according to plan, the winner will become a true Space Nation Astronaut and go on a sub-orbital flight.

In our second year the plan is to go a step further. Participants will compete for a mission visit to the International Space Station (ISS). Subject to overall mission objectives during later years, Space Nation Astronauts may have the opportunity to stay onboard the ISS for longer periods of time. We aim to offer a variety of spaceflight opportunities, and more than one each year in the future.

So if I manage to emerge as the winner, what would my role be? Would I be an astronaut, a tourist, a scientist, a pilot or something else?

The first year will be a pioneering experience for everyone involved, including us at Space Nation. The winner will take the astronaut training she or he has received to the next level, to actually be able to go to space. Based on the experiences of this first year, training will be enhanced and evolved for the following years, which will make it possible to give future Space Nation Astronauts clearer and more diverse roles in space.

How long will the training run for?

The process of actually going to space is a fairly extensive one. In Space Nation, each year is split into several phases. There are the weeks and months of Basic Training through our Space Nation Astronaut Program, accessible via smartphones. Then there is an assessment period, followed by an invitational two-week Astronaut Bootcamp.

From the bootcamp, a dozen astronaut hopefuls are selected for a reality competition, which consists of several weeks of filmed production.

For the final winners this is just the beginning, as they will undergo additional mission training for the actual space flight. The more demanding the trip to space will be, the longer the final training will take. In the initial years of Space Nation, this period is most likely only a number of weeks, while later, more challenging trips will require more training.

How do you structure the training?

We have worked closely with professional astronaut trainers - who also work with NASA astronauts - in order to build our challenges to reflect real astronaut training and develop physical, intellectual, team building and leadership skills. If you want to learn more, download the app!

How is your training similar to the training currently offered to space tourists?

Space tourist training currently focuses primarily on safety issues rather than mission-specific duties. However, space tourists still need to learn about living in space, ISS protocols, microgravity, safe launching and landing, and survival skills. The majority of these topics are also covered in the Space Nation Astronaut Program.

OK, let’s cut to the chase. Can I really become an astronaut by taking part in the Space Nation Astronaut Program?

Yes. All participants have the chance to become a Space Nation Astronaut. We are working with astronaut training specialists who will assess the performance of all participants. The most promising and most able participants will be invited to join up for a real-life Astronaut Bootcamp, with a view to progress to the next stage, the reality competition.

We can’t - and won’t - deny that it will be a challenge to be crowned winner and receive a trip to space. At the same time, one person will make it every year - who knows, it might be you. And, ultimately, it is up to all of us to define what a Space Nation Astronaut actually is. Join us!