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NZ’s first woman scheduled in space

The power of centrifugal force extremely intense says NZ’s first woman scheduled in space

Centrifuge training in Philadelphia was the most intense sensation experienced for the first New Zealand woman scheduled to fly into space, she said today.

Real estate agent Jackie Maw said she trained only two days at the space centre but each day was pretty rigorous.

``Pulling six G’s was pretty full on but the good news was we all 'flew' through our training and received our wings at graduation.

``Meeting five of my fellow founders was a lot of fun. There was an IT couple from the UK, a Hedge Fund wholesaler from LA, a woman from Hong Kong and a film director from Hollywood. I’m certainly making some great contacts for my real estate business.

``We bonded really well as a group and both Virgin Galactic and Nastar looked after us very well. It was fascinating for me to be at a facility that trains jet fighter pilots and to understand how they do that - and to take a look at Nastar’s wall of fame and the pictures of legendary aviators and astronaut missions.’’

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

The trip will take her to 112km above the earth where she will go from nought to 3,500 miles in 10 seconds. 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.

Maw said she feels part of something very special and said she was privileged to be part of the pioneering movement into private space travel.’’

She will learn more about coping with weightlessness by doing a Zero G flight next time she returns to the US.

The total cost of the 3 hour trip into space 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.

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

Maw paid for her ticket at the beginning of the year and in so doing joined the exclusive Founders Club - the first 100 astronauts to fly with Virgin Galactic.

``I’ve always had a passion for flight. When I finish the last of my University papers next year (her AREINZ, enabling her to buy her own real estate agency), I intend sitting my PPL (Private Pilots Licence).

``It’s testament to property investment that I’m even in a position to take this trip.’’ the Harcourts agent said.

ENDS

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