Nancy Vermeulen Private Astronaut Trainer

The Space Training Academy was founded by astrophysicist, airline pilot and space travel instructor Nancy Vermeulen.

She prepares aspiring astronauts physically and mentally for their first trip into space, using a unique training programme developed in collaboration with the “Desdemona Aerospace Simulator” in Soesterberg, The Netherlands and the "Delft University of Technology".

The academy also offers space-inspired lectures and workshops for the general public and aims to contribute to further academic research. On this page you discover the philosophy behind the creation of the Space Training Academy.


When we tell people that we dedicate our lives to facilitating space travel, we often get mixed responses. “Why do we even want to go into space?”, some people ask. “Haven’t we created enough problems on Earth already?” Or they say, “Commercial space travel is just the next hobby for the superrich.” In reality, it’s a lot more complex than that. And that is why we founded the Space Training Academy.  We want to contribute to scientific research and help the general public to see the full picture. We want to bring the universe to the people and vice versa. Because space travel matters – to all of us.

Space exploration


We all know the story of Christopher Columbus, who was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the 15thcentury. He dealt with some criticism, too. At the time, it seemed unnecessary and expensive to cross that huge ocean. There were other priorities back then that needed solving first. But looking back on it now, we understand exactly how important the discovery of the New World was for our development. The space pioneers of today are no different from the explorers back then. We don’t know what is waiting for us on the other side, but it could change our lives forever. And the knowledge that we develop in space, may well turn out to be the key for our survival in the long run.


A lot of people see space as a playground for the superrich, as a waste of the taxpayers’ money or as just another battlefield for politicians. But they fail to see the most important characteristic of all: Space is a huge source of innovation. Did you know that most of the things that you are using every day are here because of space travel? Solar panels, GPS, portable computers, recycling techniques, even water treatment facilities. Space also helps us track and understand global changes in agriculture, climate, fishery, deforestation and desertification thanks to monitoring systems in space. Almost every solution we have on this planet was developed to solve a problem in space and was then commercialised for daily use on Earth. Space exploration challenges us to continuously develop new technology, which eventually makes life on Earth better.

Bringing people closer to space and vice versa


More things are threatening our existence than you might expect. The first thing that comes to mind is climate change. But even if we manage to overcome that, our planet could still get hit by an asteroid. How silly would it be for us to get wiped out by a simple rock from space? With all the knowledge and technology that we have, we could still end up like the dinosaurs. And the Sun will not be around forever, either. So our time here on Earth is per definition limited. That is why we need to plan ahead and see the bigger picture. All these issues that are keeping us occupied right now – politics, migration, employment – are trivial compared to the challenges that we will have to overcome in the future. We have to come together as a species and focus on finding the solution to the major issues that are threatening us. And that solution is most likely waiting for us in space.


That is why we are dedicating our lives to space travel. We want to contribute to the scientific research that will make our lives better. The Space Training Academy is here for everybody, including you. The training, workshops and lectures are here to inspire everyone. The more people understand the beauty and significance of space, the better. Our ultimate goal is a humanitarian one: that we stop being distracted by the things that separate us and start focusing on the things that unite us. Because at the end of the day, we are all "Earthlings". Our country, our religion, our social status or the colour of our skin: none of that matters in space. Whether we want it or not, we will all have to work together to survive in the long run. And with the Space Training Academy, that is exactly what we are trying to achieve.