Yes, you read the headline correctly. I just traded the Zero G Parabolic Flight to Jeff Manber of NanoRacks LLC for transport of an object to the space station! This has been a process that has taken me over a year to finally make happen, but it is well worth it. The story is amazing... so, here is goes.
As with everything on this project, I've tried to make the coolest move possible in every situation. Just thinking to myself, what would make the documentary of my life that much more interesting. Last spring I saw the work of a famous graffiti artist and thought "I have to trade with him."
I reached out and was super surprised that he responded to my e-mail, but unfortunately he wasn't interested in the Zero G Flight. But he said if I coud get his artwork into space, he would trade me something incredible (can't disclose who he is, or what the trade might be just yet).
I knew I had to get his work into orbit and figured if I could find a satellite launch company, this could help me -- maybe the CEO would want to take a Zero G Flight in exchange for slapping some art on the side of a satellite? Problem was, I didn't even know where to begin to look.
I jokingly told my friend Adrian Winn, founder of FanGarden.com, "I need a space satellite launch company." To which he replied "I don't know anyone with a launch company." I told him "just find me one!"
The next day I get a phone call and he says "ah, dude, I'm at this bar downtown and there is a guy here who says he can get you a satellite launch company."
Adrian ends up connecting me to this guy he randomly met who works with Near Earth, LLC - a company that invests exclusively in outer space projects. The Universe is a magical place.
I get on the phone with Ian Fichtenbaum from Near Earth and he says to me, "Satellite launch companies are hard to work with, they have lots of security, and are very conservative. But what if I do you one better?", "um, ok". "What if I get you access to The International Space Station?" "Ah.. that would be amazing." "Great, I've already spoken with Jeff Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, LLC and he loves the project and wants to help. His company is the only company in the world under contract to put payloads on the NASA Manifest to the ISS."
Of course, the ISS is actually the coolest satellite in the sky!
Amazing. I talked to Jeff Manber, who it turns out is an OG. Orbital Gangster that is. At one point Jeff's was part of a company that controlled the MIR Space Station. His current company focuses on sending educational projects to the International Space Station.
So, up for trade is transportation of something* to the International Space Station. (*pending NASA approval -- this means, you have to work with NASA to make sure what you are sending is allowed.)
So far the specs I am told are that it needs to fit inside a 4" cube. It also should have some sort of educational tie in as that tends to make NASA happy. But this is pretty awesome. I actually now am getting SOMETHING into outer space and onto the ISS!
Watch a Tour of the ISS for some inspiration on what you'd want to trade;)