Boston Student Wins Trip into Space Aboard XCOR’s Lynx

Race for Space winner Justin Dowd's reaction to his winning a trip to space! (Photo: Business Wire)

BOSTON, Apr 25, 2012 (Metro PR) — Metro, Boston’s #1 daily newspaper, is proud to announce that local reader Justin Dowd from Worcester, MA, has won Metro’s Race for Space, a global competition to select one Metro reader to travel into space.

 Justin, 22, beat hundreds of thousands of candidates across the world to win a the coveted once-in-a-lifetime ticket on board XCOR Lynx, the first generation rocket-powered aircraft currently being built by leading spaceflight company SXC (Space Expedition Curacao).

Metro, the leading free daily in the US, became the first newspaper to offer a reader the chance to visit space when it launched its ‘Race for Space’ competition in March.

It partnered with sister titles across the world — from everywhere from Montreal to Santiago, from Stockholm to Seoul – and SXC to offer one of Metro’s millions of global readers the chance to win a trip into space — a prize valued, according to the SXC website, at nearly a six-figure sum.

“The Metro way is to be bold, exciting and fresh. In the last year we’ve had Lady Gaga and Karl Lagerfeld as our exclusive Guest Editor — and now we’ll become the first American newspaper to send a reader into space. The sky’s the limit for Metro and for Justin,” said Yggers Mortensen, CEO and Publisher of Metro in the US.

Michiel Mol, a founder of SXC, commented: “It’s our mission to make space accessible for the world. Working together with what probably is the world’s most accessible news medium of our planet is of course a perfect match.”

Justin Dowd has both the mental and physical smarts needed to be a perfect astronaut. A physics and math undergraduate at Boston’s Northeastern University, he wowed the judging panel with his stunning chalkboard stop motion video on Einstein’s theory of relativity. Meanwhile, Dowd has been training for a grueling 12-mile (19-km) endurance obstacle course race.

In reacting to the news, Dowd, who was told of his success just this morning (Wednesday April 25) told Metro, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world and for about 20 minutes, I’ll be the luckiest guy in outer space!”

Dowd added that it’s “an absolute honor” to be the part of the world’s first space mission to be launched by a newspaper. “To say this is a once-in-a-lifetime event is an understatement. This is the first time ever this sort of mission is happening and I am elated to be a part of history.”

J. Murray Gibson, Dean of the College of Science at Northeastern University said: “Northeastern is very proud of Justin. All of our students aim for the stars, and some students actually reach them. We’ve had students represent our university on all seven continents, but this is the first one to reach the final frontier!”

And Harry Van Hulten, test pilot with SXC and global jury member that selected Dowd, added: “My motivation for him is that he really provides an amazing package in the combined qualities of scientific background, artistic qualities, dedication and the gift to tell a fascinating story.”

“He is absolutely unique. He taught me things in his video that I didn’t understand as well as I do now. He really blew me away with that. I can’t think of any better ambassador to tell the story about this space trip than him.”

Dowd will receive astronaut training ahead of the trip scheduled for 2014. The ‘civilian astronaut’ will be able to chronicle his preparations and space flight itself in a series of reports published in Metro across the globe.

At a date to be arranged, Justin Dowd will:

  1. Join a spaceflight from the SXC Space Mission in Curacao. This includes a return flight to Curacao, and three nights in a five-star hotel.
  2. Undergo two pre-spaceflight training missions in Holland

The missions will be held in the Netherlands on two consecutive days. The winner will receive a return air ticket to the Netherlands, plus hotel accommodation. The winner will take part in mission-tactics training course and the two training missions described below.

Mission-tactics course

SXC will teach Justin all he needs to know to fly into space. SXC’s professional instructors have prepared an enjoyable, tailor-made package that will get you ready for your space expedition.

Desdemona simulator

He will spend time in the Desdemona simulator, a state-of-the-art space flight simulator — and the only one of its kind. Built by the Austrian company AMST and the Dutch National Physics Laboratory TNO and located in Soesterberg, the Netherlands, this is the first simulator that both offers a full range of motion and is capable of generating all G-forces up to 3.3G.

L-39 Albatross jet

The L-39 Albatross is a single engine, tandem-seat jet trainer that is ideally suited to preparing for the spaceflight in the Lynx Mk II. Justin will fly in the backseat, behind the professional instructor, and get used to flying in a high-performance aircraft, wearing a helmet — and even pulling some Gs! During this training mission, he will simulate the most important phases of spaceflight.

About Metro:

Metro US is the #1 free daily newspaper in the nation with over 1,209,483 daily readers. As the leading free daily newspaper, Metro targets the most active, high-spending young professional in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia and delivers the highest % of readers 18-49. Concise, contemporary and colourful, Metro provides news to captive, attention-hungry commuters. Metro offers innovative multi-platform/geo-targeted campaigns; print, out-of-home, and on-line. As the pioneer of the free daily newspaper, Metro’s global brand attracts 18 million daily readers across 18 countries, making Metro the world’s largest global newspaper.