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The Finnish Astronaut Hat

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What happened in 2022 and what do I expect from 2023?

Saturday 12/31/22

What happened in 2022:

Virgin Galactic (VG) did not make new space flights in 2022. I am a little disappointed with this, because in 2021 Richard Branson flew into space himself. I have received VG newsletters, which have told about various preparations to start the flights.

One preparation for the flights was the lottery. The first ticket buyers, around 2005-2006, were able to buy a place among the first 100. They were told that the order would be drawn by lottery. This lottery was held a few months ago. One of my astronaut friends got number 7. I'm happy for her! So she will be on the second flight when the flights start. VG could have held this lottery years ago, so now we are definitely close to start flights.

This year I didn't participate in the VG events, but if in 2023 I would like to participate again. They have always been nice events.

The most significant event for me was CanSat 2022 in Vaasa. Blog:


What I expect from 2023:

CanSat 2023 event in Vaasa in the spring.

More information -> Esero

Own space flight at the end of the year. I've been waiting for it for 12 years. Excited to see who I'm flying with.

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DearMoon PROJECT - a private project to the Moon

Monday 12/12/22 time 12:45 PM

Times have changed. Until now, Moon projects have been implemented or planned by big countries such as the United States, the Soviet Union or China. Now Japanese Yusaku Maezawa wants to see the Moon close. Yusaku is a billionaire, art collector and space freak. Yusaku has already been to space in 2021, so this is his second space trip. The trip will be made on a private SpaceX -rocket. Yusaku has enough money to buy his own space trip and invite 8 artists to travel with. The price of the trip is not public, but it is sure to be hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe even a billion dollars.

The project was published in 2018 and a million people applied for the trip. A couple of days ago, the names of 8 lucky ones were published. There are also 2 persons backup crew. Now space tourism will move to the orbit of the Moon. They do not land on the moon, so the flight profile is similar to the Apollo 8 flight in December 1968. The Apollo 8 flight lasted 6 days and circled the moon 10 times. One of the world's most famous pictures, "Earthrise", was taken on the Apollo 8 flight. The picture is the first human-made picture of the entire Earth. There is little scientific benefit from Yusaku's trip, but it pays for the development costs of the technology. Maybe Yusaku's artists will take new unforgettable pictures? We want to get to the Moon cheaper than 50 years ago. The last time humans visited the Moon was in 1972.

The preliminary departure time is in 2023, that's a pretty optimistic schedule. Will they travel to the moon at the same time as the American Artemis project, which is scheduled to orbit the moon in 2024? Who will be the first?

More information

dearMoonProject homepage ->

Crew Release ->


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Rocket-Uno 10 years!

Sunday 5/1/22

I did buy Fiat Uno 1990 model on May Day 2012. At that time, I had the idea to make it to be a Finnish Astronaut car. I have been building and driving a car for 10 years. I have driven 75,000 kilometers with it. The car is now in version four and there are currently plans for up to version eight. After all, that construction never ends, whenever you get something ready, new ideas will come. The car still makes people to smile.

There are a lot of questions about the car and the most typical question is “Has it a turbo?” to which I have answered that there is no need for turbo because there are the hyperdrive engines.

Happy first of May!


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CanSat 2022 competition in Vaasa 03-06.04.2022

Wednesday 4/6/22

CanSat was now held for the first time in Finland. It was great to see how schoolchildren and students aged 14-19 were looking forward to participating in the event. They were devided in seven different groups that had been preparing the satellite for a few months to a couple of years. Covid -19 has postponed the CanSat event a few times.

Students / young people have five main goals in the CanSat competition:

1. Perform a mandatory primary task, i.e. the built-in CanSat and the program should measure temperature and barometric pressure during launch and landing.
2. Perform one or more optional secondary tasks selected by the teams.
3. Fit all parts of the satellite (including the radiator, sensors, communication device) to a can size and weight structure.
4. Make sure the can survives the landing.
5. Carrying out scientific tests and transferring in-flight data to a ground computer.

To achieve the targets, the groups had been given a lot of information and ready-made components. The groups had typically spent hundreds of hours reaching their targets. Although the starting points were the same for every group, we saw seven different implementations. For example, radioactive measurement in the event of an accident at a nuclear power plant and measuring equipment to predict or prevent forest fires had been selected as secondary tasks for the satellite. Pupils had taken environmental considerations into account extensively, either in the measurements or in the structure of the satellites. Pieces of wood or metal, for example, had been used as satellite material.


On Sunday 03.04.2022 we looked at the technical features of the CanSat satellites. The group of the Finnish Astronautical Society (SATS), Matti Lepomäki, Timo Toivanen, Mika Jalava and I toured the groups and gave advice and instructions if necessary. We prepared for the next day’s rocket launch together. Some of the groups had to make some fixes to the satellites and work started without hesitation. Some of the groups worked until night.


Monday 04.04.2022 was the day of the satellite launch, which took place in Söderfjärden, Vaasa. Söderfjärden is an old meteorite crater and provided a great place for rocket launching. The area is flat.

SATS had made rockets capable of launching a 300-350 gram CanSat satellite at an altitude of 500 meters. The altitude of 500 meters was good for this purpose, because then the flight of the rocket and the landing of the satellite could be followed from the ground. SATS acted like SpaceX, which also manufactures and launches rockets with an agreed load. The rockets were 100-150 cm long, weighed 1-1.5 kg with cargo, and reached speeds of hundreds of kilometers per hour within three seconds of launching the rocket. The rockets used Class G engines (Cesaroni Technology Proj29 G54) that burned ammonium perchlorate.


Each group received their own rocket on which the group itself installed the satellite. The rocket launches went well and safely. There may have been minor technical issues with some satellites, but so it is with real satellites in space. The launch of own satellite into the sky was a big event for the groups. We could see joy on each face.


After the launch, the groups had to analyze the data obtained and prepare a presentation with conclusions for the everyone. The groups did this on Tuesday 05.04.2022.

On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, all results were presented and evaluated. The three-member jury of the competition selected the two best groups. The groups were BATSAT from Finland and FSA from Sweden. They won a seat in the European finals, which will be held in June 2022. CanSat could be the starting point for the careers of new space engineers or astronauts. The space sector will employ a large number of employees in the near future. Maybe in 10 years we will hear a successful Finnish space engineer sharing his experiences of the CanSat 2022 competition…


CanSat 2022 partners: Heureka Science Center, Åbo Akademi University Skolresurs, Finnish Astronautical Society, Vaasan Andromeda RY, KitSat, Meteoria, Kvarken Space Economy, LUMA Center Ostrobothnia, Vaasa Energy Academy, Wasa Innovation Center, ESERO Swerige, Astronomisk Ungdom and ESERO.

CanSat is held annually. The Finnish Astronautical Society will be happy to help organize the event in the future.

Pictures: Vesa Heilala, SATS and Jan Holmgård, ESERO Finland

More pictures: Jan Holmgård, ESERO Finland

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CanSat 2022 03-06.04.2022 Vaasa

Sunday 3/27/22 time 8:16 PM

I am going to the CanSat 2022 event as a judge with the Finnish Space Research Association. CanSat is a competition where schoolchildren aged 14-19 are building a small rocket that will send a can-sized satellite to an altitude of about 1,000 meters. There are measuring devices in the satellite. So this is training for the future space engineers. About 1,500 schoolchildren from 19 countries will take part in the competition.

There will be 7 teams in Vaasa, 4 from Finland, 2 from Sweden and 1 from Estonia. There are 33 students involved. The Finnish Space Research Society is involved in organizing the event together with Heureka, ESORO Finland and other organizations.

I’m going to have fun as a judge. Together with the other judges, I will interview the future space engineers and I see close how the different teams are performing. The best team will go to the CanSat finals on June 20-25, 2022. I don't know yet if I will be judge for the finals, that would be really interesting!

Press relase-> EPressi

ESA inivtation-> CanSat 2022 


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What happened in 2021 and what do I expect from 2022?

Friday 12/31/21 time 9:31 AM

The most significant event of 2021 was the Virgin Galactic spaceflight:

It finally happened! Virgin Galactica's first commercial spaceflight took place on July 11, 2021. Richard Branson has been asked since 2005 when he will fly into space. He has usually replied, "Next year." He no longer has to answer that question, but I still have to. Blogs:


What do I expect from 2022:

My own space flight at the end of the year. I've been waiting for it for over 10 years. Excited to see who I'm flying with.

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Keisha flies into space

Thursday 11/25/21 time 8:59 PM

Virgin Galactic announced the winner of the space trip. Her name is Keisha and she is from Antigua. She goes into space with her daughter.

Watch a video of happy Keisha. Congratulations!

Video ->

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I got a new flight number to space

Thursday 11/4/21 time 3:36 PM

Virgin Galactic began selling space tickets in 2005. It was then thought that space flights would begin within a few years. I bought my ticket in 2010. The ticket number was always new, and it was not taken into account that over the years people's minds are changing and space travel is no longer so interesting. In that case, the flight number was returned to Virgin Galactic.

Now Virgin Galactic arranged for us the ticket numbers in a new order. My old ticket number for 2010 was 2xx and now it is 1xx.

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Vesa Heilala and TIDLÖS got connected

Friday 10/1/21 time 7:20 PM

I met Henry Salmela, the founder of Tidlös, a few weeks ago in Helsinki. The connecting factor for the two of us was Antti Kempas, who is a brother to a good friend of mine Aarne Kempas. Antti, on the other hand, knows Henry. Somehow Antti and Henry came to talk about me and my project, and that's where it all started. Tidlös is a new Nordic quality watch that has been on the market a couple of years now. Tidlös has many friends in Sweden, but none in Finland so far.

And there we were, Henry and me, sitting together at the Restaurant Linnankellari discussing about watches and space. Tidlös is about to produce new watches with a face made of meteorite. You couldn't imagine any better watch for a Finnish astronaut, could you? We decided to start collaborating together. Henry is a Finn, and he is pleased to have Vesa be the first Finnish friend of Tidlös' . So, stay tuned, there's more to come....

Pictures: Vesa at Tidlös pages ja Tidlös Marin - Black Carbon Fiber watch



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New flight coming, Unity 23

Saturday 9/11/21 time 2:59 PM

Virgin Galactic is preparing for the next flight, Unity 23. Three people from Virgin Galactica and three people from the Italian Air Force will take part in the flight. The flight is expected to take place in a few weeks.

More information ->

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Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales for $ 450,000

Tuesday 8/10/21 time 3:21 PM

A few days ago, Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales. Between 2005 and 2013, the ticket price was $ 200,000 and then $ 250,000. After the 2014 accident, ticket sales were on break. Finally, the price for new customers is known: $ 450,000. If the price had been $ 450,000 in 2010 I wouldn’t have purchased a ticket.

Learn more->

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Congratulations Jeff Bezos, you got into space too!

Tuesday 7/20/21 time 4:48 PM

The New Shepard rocket successfully launched into space and returned safely to Earth.

Congratulations Jeff! Now you and Richard are in the same club!

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Interviews with YLE TV1 (Television) and Radio Suomi

Tuesday 7/20/21

Branson space flight 11.07. and the upcoming Besoz space flight 20.07. has spawned a lot of attention. As a result, I have two interviews today:

YLE TV1 morning TV at 08:50. I am interviewed by Mikko Haapanen.

Radio Suomi at 10:30. I will be interviewed by Carolus Manninen and Mika Saarelainen.

Pictures from the interviews, the interviews went well.



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The space flight was a success!

Sunday 7/11/21 time 6:34 PM

Richard Branson flew into space today! Great! Finally! Now the countdown of my own flight begins!

More information:

The whole flight: WATCH LIVE: Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Spaceflight Livestream

The best of the flight: Watch Virgin Galactic launch Richard Branson to space (first zero G!)

Picture from the flight, Richard Branson in space. Picture Virgin Galactic


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Spaceflight from Spaceport America today

Sunday 7/11/21

Flight into space takes place today

Sir Richard Branson is flying into space today from Spaceport America, located in the state of New Mexico, USA. This flight is, in my opinion, the third most significant spaceflight in history, and it will be broadcasted live on many different media. Naturally, the weather or unexpected technical problems can still postpone the flight. The rocket is the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, called VSS Unity. I will probably fly the very same rocket into space within one or two years.

Rocket crew "Unity 22"

The flight will carry two Virgin Galactic pilots and three other Virgin Galactic employees in addition to Branson. I have met two of them: Dave Mackay and Beth Moses. I chatted with them during my journey, Apollo for 50 years, in 2019. I have also exchanged a few words with Sir Branson himself. I am really glad for him that this flight is finally taking place. He has been talking about it for years. Since 2004, Branson has constantly been asked, “When?”. Spaceport America is sure to have a big party after the flight! I would have been happy to witness this historic flight. I do have an invitation to Spaceport America, but the COVID-19 restrictions by the USA prevented my trip there.

Two significant spaceflights in the history

The most significant space flight took place on April 12, 1961, when Yuri Gagarin flew into space and orbited the earth in less than two hours. The leader of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev, had prepared two speeches on Yuri's flight: Congratulations on his success, and the speech to The dead astronaut hero. This flight surprised and changed the world permanently, especially it had an impact on the United States.

As a result, the United States launched a massive lunar program that led to another major space flight: Neil Armstrong stepped on the surface of the moon on July 21, 1969, and uttered his famous words on a live television broadcast.
" That's one small step for [a] man, one Giant leap for mankind”
Neil's own estimation of the chance of a successful landing on the moon was 50%. Since then, shuttles have flown into space and the International Space Station has been built. Countless number of satellites have been fired into space, and much more has been done. But ordinary people have not had access to space. The risks and costs have been too severe.

Ordinary people into space

In the 1960s, it was widely believed that technological advances were so rapid that in the 1980s ordinary people would make space flights. Even Yuri Gagarin in his book predicted this to happen. However, this has not yet happened. Over the decades, there have been numerous projects that have had the same goal: sending ordinary people into space. However, they have all failed and forgotten. Today, Virgin Galactic is entering a new era in space conquest. If and when the flight is successful, Virgin Galactic has teken the risks and costs under control. I am proud to have been committed to the Virgin Galactic for 11 years.

After the flight

Richard Branson has said that after the flight he will share some great news. He thinks space belongs to all of us. What could he say? I think he is a kind-hearted businessman who, where possible, brings good things to everyone.
My guess is that he could say, for example:
-that going into space was a such an unbelievable experience and it will change his thinking for good
-when regular flights will start - I am one of those with a booking and I look forward to hearing when my flight will
-what are the flight prices for new clients
-that flight prices will drop, and in 2031 one can get a spaceflight ticket for $ 50,000
-that there will be free seats for students and researchers on future flights
-that in the future there will be Virgin hotels in orbit and on the moon
-some funny thing about what happened on the flight

Further information:

The flight takes place in the morning in New Mexico, when it is here in Finland. There is a live broadcast on Virgin Galactic website. Also worth following Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. Use the keyword “Unity 22” , which is the name of this flight.

Yuri Gagarin, picture ESA European Space Agency


Neil Armstrong, picture ESA European Space Agency


Virgin Galactic Unity 22 crew, picture Virgin Galactic

From left to right:

Dave Mackay, Colin Bennett, Beth Moses, Richard Branson, Sirisha Bandla ja Michael Masucci.


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Richard Branson will fly into space on July 11, 2021

Friday 7/2/21 time 1:09 PM

It has finally been made public. The date of the first commercial flight was announced today. It is 11.07.2021. The flight takes place from Spaceport America, New Mexico and there are 2 pilots and 4 passengers. Richard Branson is one of them. My own space flight will also happen from the same place.

I have an invitation to go on the spot to watch the flight, this imformation came late for me. I should  fly to El Paso, Texas, the travel time will easily be 24 hours and the time zone difference is big. Maybe I’m there virtually, because this flight is going to be watched live in many different media that day.

Virgin Galactica's competitors, Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin, is doing also a similar flight on July 20, 2021. Bezos released the news yesterday and Branson today.

I wonder if the boys are betting on which one will be first? And the winner gets a beer? In the 1960s, there was also competition between the super powers on space flights, whichever comes first. Today, rich boys compete for space flights with each other.

Introduction to Virgin Galactic pilots and passengers -> Youtube

Blue Origin News -> CNN

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Virgin Galactic was allowed to start commercial flights

Friday 6/25/21 time 8:42 PM

Today, Virgin Galactic received official permission to send its customers into space from the U.S. authorities, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Richard Branson can therefore fly into space even on his birthday 18.07.2021.

More information-> Virgin Galctic

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VSS Unity made a test flight into space

Sunday 5/23/21 time 10:38 AM

My rocket, VSS Unity, made a successful test flight into space from Spaceport America on May 22, 2021. Two pilots of Virgin Galactica and NASA research equipment were at the flight. The rocket flew to an altitude of 55 miles which is about 89 kilometers. In the near future there should be 3 more flights in space.

Virgin Galactic release -> link

Youtube video 3 min -> link

Picture from the flight (picture Virgin Galactic)


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A new test flight is coming, VSS Unity is back in space

Thursday 5/20/21 time 9:44 PM

I woke up Wednesday at 1:30 a.m. to a Virgin Galactica Zoom meeting. It went through the space of the project and featured Virgin Galatica staff from the United States.

The plan is to do four space flights this year. The first (VG bulletin below) involves pilots and NASA research payloads. The second flight involves pilots and four VG employees. In the third, Sir Richard Branson, flies to the space. He wants to test himself what an experience space flight is like. The exact content of the fourth flight has not yet been announced. If all goes well, then commercial flights will begin in early 2022.

Virgin Galactic release -> link

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New rocket, VSS Imagine, and status of the project

Wednesday 3/31/21 time 8:47 AM

Yesterday, March 31, 2021, Virgin Galactic held a remote meeting with us to introduce the new rocket, VSS Imagine. The rocket is an improved version of the previous rockets (VSS Enterprise and VSS Unity). It is faster to build, easier to maintain, lighter, shiny and stronger. VSS Imagine will start testing in the summer. Rickard Branson described the appearance of the new rocket as “Sexy Beast”.

In the remote meeting there were Virgin Galactica staff and Richard Branson. A few Virgin Galactic customers were allowed to ask questions about the new rocket. It nice to see and hear familiar faces in the remote meeting.

The meeting also reviewed the situation of the project. VSS Unity will make a test flight into space in May and Richard Branson is scheduled to go into space in this summer. After that, a few more test flights will be done before the actual commercial flights begin in early 2022. If VSS Unity and VSS Image are both in use in 2022, then my flight might take place in late 2022. At some point next year I will probably know who I am flying with. Are there any formula or movie stars on my flight? I would be happy to fly with Tom Hanks because he was actor in Apollo 13 -movie.

Virgin Galactic has taken a break from ticket sales. In the beginning, the ticket cost $ 200,000 and later its price went up to $ 250,000. When ticket sales will start again, the price will probably be higher than $ 250,000. So, when I paid $ 200,000 for my ticket in 2010, it was a good price.

More information:

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic


Picture Virgin Galacic: VSS Unity


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