18 Dec 2013

Student set to fly in space

6:10 am on 18 December 2013

An engineering student from New Plymouth could become the first New Zealander in space in a year's time.

Hamish Fagg, 21, has returned from a space academy camp in Florida, after winning a competition for a place on a commercial flight into space.

He says he went through testing at the space academy to make sure he's suitable for the sub-orbital flight. He says the hardest thing was the obstacle course which pushed him to his limits, leaving him shattered.

Mr Fagg says the plane went up to 103km in altitude and the flight lasted about an hour, although the time spent in space is only about three or four minutes.

"You get in what is basically an airliner that they've taken all the seats out of and they fly parabolic arcs so for 30 seconds at a time, you feel weightless. That was an amazing experience and is actually quite comfortable. You get used to it after the first couple of goes, and it's so much fun."

The space plane, which is currently under production, is scheduled to launch later next year.