Who is Kellie Gerardi? TikToker to join Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic trip to space
The International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) has chosen a 32-year-old researcher, author and social media influencer, to head to space on a flight with Virgin Galactic.
IIAS will be flying researcher, citizen scientist and STEM influencer Kellie Gerardi on an upcoming dedicated Virgin Galactic launch. Gerardi will be conducting a series of experiments on her flight. These experiments will focus on healthcare technologies including a new biomonitor system to study the effects of spaceflights on astronauts in real-time.
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Who is Kellie Gerardi?
Born on February 16, 1989, in Jupiter, Florida, Kellie Gerardi is an aerospace, defense, and technology professional and a popular science communicator. Gerardi is a citizen-scientist and conducts bioastronautics research and spacesuit evaluation in microgravity with the IIAS. Gerardi is currently working as a Director of The Explorers Club and serves on the Defense Council for the Truman National Security Project.
She has authored 'Not Necessarily Rocket Science: A Beginner's Guide To Life in the Space Age' and a children's picture book series titled, 'Luna Muna'. Gerardi has a huge following on Instagram and TikTok.
Gerardi has flown on multiple previous parabolic research flights, which are high-altitude aircraft flights that affect the reduced gravity environment of space. This will be her first trip to space proper, however, and that transition epitomizes the advantages Virgin Galactic hopes to be able to offer to researchers who previously conducted their work in simulated zero-G conditions.
“I think it would be very appropriate for me to say I never could have dreamed of this, but that wouldn’t be true,” she told The Post. “The reality is that I have dreamed of this . . . every single day in detail for the last decade.” “I’m so grateful for Richard Branson’s vision to democratize access to space,” she said of the billionaire, who is said to be shooting off in a rocket himself on Sunday, July 11.
“[Humanity] is not just going to be sending engineers to space; we’re going to be sending poets and journalists and communicators and artists and athletes. This is a watershed moment for more people to experience that.” The three companies, she added, “sprung into action to disrupt the old way of doing business, with an eye toward agility and innovation, and are dramatically lowering costs.”
Gerardi will be taking what’s called a suborbital space flight, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her seat is being funded by her employer, IIAS. “You go up, you enjoy five minutes of microgravity, and you come right back down,” she explained. The whole trip takes about two hours, and she didn't reveal when it will take place.