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First NZ woman to go up in space heads to US

Media release – November 6, 2007

First NZ woman to go up in space flies next week to the US for zero-gravity and G force training next week

The first New Zealand woman to go into space will have her initial zero-gravity and G force training session in the United States next week.

Christchurch real estate agent, Jackie Maw flies to Philadelphia next Monday for an intense two-day astronaut training course at Nastar’s private space training facility in Philadelphia.

``We will be learning about the physiological effects of G-forces on the body using the centrifuge, getting used to weightlessness and learning more about the flight itself,’’ Maw said today.

“I’m keen to see how going suborbital and getting back to earth again is going to impact on the body.”

``The most challenging aspect I imagine will be getting used to the various vectors of G-force. We've been told to expect 3 to 6 G’s during the flight so it’s obviously important that we are well prepared.’’

The total cost of the 3 hour trip is NZ$280,000 – or $93,000 an hour. In other terms, it will cost $1550 a second for the ride into space and back.

The trip will take her to 112km above the earth and in so doing she will become the first Kiwi woman in space, the first NZ woman to travel at such speeds and the first Kiwi woman to be so far above NZ’s shores.

No date has been set for her flight but it is likely to be late 2009 or early 2010. So why is she doing it?

``It’s an enormous privilege to be in a position to travel to where less than 500 people have ever been and look down on planet earth. And the idea of supporting private space travel - the way of the future – really appeals to me.

``It also gives me a unique opportunity of meeting people like Sir Richard Branson and provides a wonderful opportunity to promote our spectacular New Zealand real estate to some well-heeled potential clients!”

A total of 463 people from 34 countries -- 415 men and 48 women -- have been up in space.

Maw paid for her ticket last year and joined the exclusive Founders Club - the first 100 astronauts to fly with Virgin Galactic.

``I’ve always had a love of flight. I’ve flown in gliders, hang gliders, helicopters, and aerobatic planes. When I saw the movie Top Gun, I wanted to fly F14s. When I saw Apollo 13, I wanted to become an astronaut. I guess this is as close as I’m likely to get this lifetime.
A trip into space is going to be hard to top.

``I feel very fortunate that some astute property investments have helped pay for this trip.’’ the Harcourts agent said.

Ends

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