Want to be an astronaut? There's an app for that

Astronaut training app offers chances to go into space

By Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist

Expedition 50 NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, left, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, center, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet are seen after donning their Russian sokol suits a few hours ahead of their launch on a Soyuz rocket,…

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - According to Space Nation, their new app Space Nation Navigator offers training in basic astronaut skills through games, quizzes, fitness challenges, and narrative adventures. The app challenges users to set physical goals and sharpen their minds through space-related puzzles and problems. Through social media and inside the app, users also have the opportunity to build teams.

Space Nation reached an agreement with NASA to develop content with real-life astronaut trainers for the app. The app is a new first step in astronaut training with global availability. 

According to NASA, they are collaborating with Space Nation, a space experiences company based in Europe, on their upcoming Astronaut Training Experiences Program and mobile app. The free app  encourages users to build relevant astronaut skills in areas such as teamwork and problem-solving as well as physical and mental excellence.

Through a Space Act Agreement, NASA is providing Space Nation with technical expertise as well as agency records, imagery and video for the app’s civil space-related content.

"We are always looking for new ways to educate the public about the benefits and challenges of human space exploration," said Mike Read, manager, commercial space utilization at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We hope an app like Space Nation’s will help global users better understand what it takes to be an astronaut in a fun and entertaining way."

The app allows users to choose their level of interaction including participation in virtual games and challenges that could ultimately lead to an-in person boot camp and competition. It is not clear at this time what the training program and competition would be affiliated with, NASA’s participation is limited to app content development.

NASA has participated with other apps and virtual programs to educate users about agency projects and programs, and collaboratively create interactive informational experiences for the public. This app is geared toward adults to train like an astronaut, and is not part of the agency’s official astronaut selection process.

According to Space Nation, high performing candidates will be selected to participate in virtual, real-world and out of this world space experiences – including a long-format series and an on-site boot camp.

Candidates who unlock all the badges and achievements become eligible to take part in an exciting series of astronaut experiences – and the opportunity to travel to space.

The best of the best are then selected to participate in a filmed competition. Space Nation plans to send the winner on a mission to space.

"Through our collaboration with NASA, we want to inspire millions of people who own a smartphone to virtually experience what it means to prepare for space travel," said Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola, chief executive officer of Space Nation.

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