TRU5T Ambassadors Kid Astronaut Program
January 30, 2024 8:22 AM   Subscribe

TRU5T Ambassadors Kid Astronaut Program
It is very simple: We are sending kids to space.

Presently, to be an astronaut/to go to sub-orbit as a commercial astronaut, astronauts and fliers must be 18.

I have been training students for careers in space and astronautics for 18 years. My book, The Astronaut Instruction Manual, became a best-seller and is now being turned into a tv series about the first kids in space. (And has been given much love from Mefites over the years.) In 2021, I was on the personal launch team for Dr Sian Proctor. And in 2022, I was selected as one of Space+5 commercial astronaut crew. Going to space for me has become a dream that is coming true.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to space. I discovered that having achieved this goal, many of my peer astronauts experience existential crisis. It turns out going to space and coming back without a plan for what comes after on Earth leads to uncertainty and doubt. Learning this had me re-evaluate my plan. Discussing it with peers and launch providers, I came up with a plan to give meaning to my journey and fulfillment to my life work. We are training and launching with the world's very first Kid Astronauts.

Returning to good friend astronaut and Afrofuturist adventure artist Dr Sian Proctor (and coordinating with the launch providers for important specifics), for the past three months we have put together one of the most audacious space missions ever.

On January 27th I announced to the world: TRU5T Ambassadors Kid Astronaut Program, the first-ever space mission to send kids to space!
Role: mission commander
posted by Mike Mongo (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Well, this is so incredible that I was certain it was a joke.

But I think it isn't!

My guy is a bit too young for this adventure, but I will keep this in mind for future years.

I wish you the greatest success and luck!
posted by Acari at 9:31 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

That AI-generated poster makes me pretty sure this is not, strictly speaking, real. If this were a real thing that were happening, they wouldn't have a poster that says "TERRTIAL ARESURCE UITED SPACE TRAINING"; they'd have a real poster with the real information in it. I assume this is promo for a book or YouTube series.

The site of the International Astronautical Congress, linked in the OP, has no search results for "TRU5T" or "Mongo" (except for some about Mongolia).
posted by 4th number at 9:15 AM on February 1

Mike Mongo, can you clarify the nature of this project?
posted by 4th number at 9:20 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]

For real? So cool!!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:19 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Am I the only one going "This is freaking TERRIFYING"???

Followed by "Please tell me it's not real".
posted by stormyteal at 5:07 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Mike Mongo, can you clarify the nature of this project?

4th number, yes I can.

First, pardon the lag. It's only been two weeks since the announcement and TRU5T Ambassadors has taken over my life.

Having been an astronaut teacher advocating for kids in space for nearly two decades now, and advocating for kids going to space, author a best-selling children's book (now being turned into a tv series) for and about the first Kid Astronauts, founding an annual Astronaut Job Camp at the UK's first vertical launch facility, and then after being selected to train for a commercial crew two years ago, when my own flight plans were waylaid I was given the opportunity to review how come I was going to space in the first place.

Working around astronaut peers, what I learned is that upon returning to Earth astronauts often experience very real existential crisis. For most astronauts, going to space is a one-time deal. So the question becomes, "now what?"

Knowing this, and then experiencing the sense of loss of mission when my own flight was postponed and even cancelled, I re-evaluated my own vision of space. In turn, I reflected upon the message in what I have been teaching the students and astronaut candidates.

And that is how six months ago, while discussing my own flight under NDA with [launch provider], I had the freedom to ask very direct questions that I ordinarily may not get the answer to. What I asked about was who would be allowed to fly.

The answer was simple. They must be 18 and able to fulfill ordinary standards that all astronauts get to be able to be accountable for in order to launch to space. That's the backstory and this is when it all began coming together.

The result is what I wrote about and poster here. The TRU5T video announcement explains nearly all of it.

Our next steps are all announcements. We have big ones coming up. Specifically, we announce our strategic alliances. (BIG woohoo!) Then after those, and after the terms of the process and opportunities are concrete and clearly understood, we open up the faucet and invite applications to students around the world.

Btw, the around the world part has its own challenges as citizens of certain nations are not allowed to fly on launch providers from specific nations. I believe we have the solutions to insure everyone gets to play. After all, all TRU5T Ambassadors must represent astronaut-artist Dr Sian Proctor's AJEDI Principles–Accessibility, Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion–and that what TRU5T gets to model to the applicants.

Oh yeah. As for the AI being authentic and unedited, I have been working with AI since 2018. And I am a career artist. ChatGPT and I had long conversations to produce that work. The art is as it is for the TRU5T announcement in respect to the process of the artist ie ChatGPT and Dall-E who created it. YMMV but that's the stand I choose to take. Btw AI is going to space with us!
posted by Mike Mongo at 6:31 PM on February 12

PS 4th number TRU5T is not an official IAC project or event. While I may speak at IAC 2024 (on Kids in Space, natch), there is no affiliation with the IAC besides date and location and community. Of course, I'm no stranger to IAC. Indeed, it's one of the most important astronautical communities in the world.
posted by Mike Mongo at 6:39 PM on February 12

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