No space travel for Kiwi entrant

16:00, Dec 16 2013
BACK TO EARTH: Andy Pierce returns home unsuccessful from the AXE Global Space Camp in Florida.

Andy Pierce's space ambitions have fallen short.

The Redvale resident returned after a week at the AXE Global Space Camp in Florida with a disheartening result.

He wasn't one of the 23 chosen to take a ride into space after winning a competition with Lynx.

Andy says the trip was disappointing although he has some good memories from it.

One hundred and seven people from more than 60 countries travelled to Florida to compete for a ride to space on the new XCOR Lynx commercial reusable launch vehicle.

The group was promised to be pushed to the limit to test if they could handle space travel conditions, but Andy says they didn't get to do half of it.


"We didn't get the opportunity to go on a zero gravity-inducing aircraft or on a fighter jet ride."

The group did ride in a jet prop combat trainer.

"The confidence course we did, which they called an ‘assault course', was timed but ended with a zip line where we had to wait in a queue. I had to wait so long I had fully recovered from doing the course.

"Things like that all along the way made me feel like they had chosen people they wanted from the start," Andy says.

He says the group spent much time waiting while a company filming for a documentary orchestrated the visitors' programmes. Even the G-force centrifuge was only pushed to 3Gs.

"I could have gone in with a cup of tea it was so gentle," Andy says.

Regardless of the disappointing process, Andy says there were still highlights.

"The second day we did a tourist trip to the Kennedy launch pad. We did some pretty cool sightseeing out there and went into the launch pad and building where they assemble rockets.

"A major highlight would have been the people I met. Spending time with some really cool people from every corner of the world."

Fellow Kiwi entrant Hamish Fag of Upper Hutt was among those chosen.

Rodney Times