Deep Space Seanie: Local man in astronaut bid

A local man is bidding to become the first person from Kilkenny to go to space, and has entered a competition to fulfil his childhood dream.

A local man is bidding to become the first person from Kilkenny to go to space, and has entered a competition to fulfil his childhood dream.

Sean Walsh, who was born in Freshford but now lives in Kilkenny City, wishes to slip the surly bonds of earth and touch the face of god. The past pupil of Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown is now looking for votes in a competition to send him into orbit.

The competition is run by toiletries brand Lynx, and is being run in 77 countries with 22 places up for grabs. Sean has signed up to the Lynx Space Academy, and now needs votes to advance to the next stage – a challenge weekend, before the numbers are whittled down further for a space camp in Florida. The winning astronaut is then picked, and it’s time for lift off.

If Sean wins, his flight will be handled by Space Expedition Corporation (Space XC), which plans to offer daily commercial space flights from 2014, using the fully XCOR Lynx aircraft. The flight is likely to operate out of Curacao in the Caribbean. The cost of a flight in real terms is $95,000, and so far there have been more than 200 commercial flights sold through the company.

The aircraft has four rocket engines, and the climb into space is a steep one. The engines are shut off at around 138,000 feet (42 km) and Mach 2.

The spaceplane then continues to climb, unpowered, until it reaches 200,000 feet (61 km). Sean, if he is the lucky winner, will then experience a little over four minutes of weightlessness, presumably accompanied by the strains of the Blue Danube, before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

The occupants of the Lynx may experience up to four times normal gravity during re-entry. On re-entry, the Lynx simply glides down and perform an unpowered landing, with no inanimate carbon rod necessary.

Running under the tagline ‘Leave a man. Come back a hero’, Lynx has recruited Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon from the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969, to promote it.

“I’m thrilled that Lynx is giving the young people of today such an extraordinary opportunity to experience some of what I’ve encountered in space,” said Aldrin.

To vote for Sean, visit https://www.lynxapollo.com/en_IE/193805/sean-walsh?image=0.