It seems there’s nothing reality TV won’t try these days — including sending someone into space.
US production company Space Hero has released plans for a reality television program where the main prize is a seat on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon rocket to the International Space Station (ISS).
The production plans to bring together a group of contestants from all around the world, filming as they undergo a series of gruelling tasks that will determine if they’re capable of travelling to the ISS on a crewed flight.
However Australian stargazers, have cast doubts over the audacious plan, saying “they’ve heard this one before”.
The team behind the show say they’re looking for an “everyday citizen with a deep love for space exploration”.
Producers are shopping around for a deal to broadcast the reality challenge around the world, kicking off their promotional material earlier this week.
Its website simply says: “Space Hero: Do You have What it Takes” with a clock counting down from 201 days.
Space Hero is founded by Thomas Reemer and Deborah Sass and led by former News Corp Europe chief, Marty Pompadur.
“In times like these we yearn to look up to people for the right reasons,” Mr Reemer said.
“So it’s time to look amongst ourselves to find the heroes that will inspire a bright future.”
“Space Hero is the new frontier for the entertainment sector, offering the first-ever truly off-planet experience,” Marty Pompadur said.
“We aim to reinvent the reality TV category by creating a multi-channel experience that offers the biggest prize ever, to the biggest audience possible.
“Space Hero is about opening space up to everyone — not only to astronauts and billionaires.”
The show’s production team said it was working with Axiom Space, “manufacturer of the world’s first privately funded commercial space station and full-service human spaceflight mission provider”, who would train the crew and conduct the mission to the ISS.
It’s understood producers are in discussions with NASA for a potential partnership including potential STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives.
The ISS is jointly owned by the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan, and has been orbiting the earth since 1998.
More than 100 people from 10 countries have served as long-term crew on the ISS, however an Australian is yet to take orbit on the station.
Twenty years ago, South Australian astronaut Andy Thomas spent 140 days on the Russian Mir Space Station.
Dr Thomas’ home state, South Australia, is now ‘mission control’ for Australia’s Space Agency, with the Commonwealth Government forming the nation’s space hub in 2018.
In 1967, Australia launched its own satellite at Woomera, becoming only the third country in the world — behind the two cold war superpowers, Russia and the United States — to have accomplished such a feat.
But, however exciting this proposed show might seem, Australian stargazers remain sceptical about Space Hero’s plan to launch a citizen out of space — mainly because it’s an idea they’ve heard many times before.
“They don’t have launch capabilities, they don’t have any processes in place there,” Mr Reneke said.
“I don’t think this is going to work, this may get off the ground, but goodness me.”
Mr Reneke said there would be some merit in a program showing the rigorous training processes astronauts go through.
“If it was handled properly it would be pretty much like you see with MasterChef or any of those reality TV shows where they come to the end and there’s a grand final winner.
“Certainly whoever does win this, if they do go through and the show does go ahead, it’s going be quite a holiday to be blasted up to the space station.”
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
International Space Station, NASA Astronaut Corps, Kathleen Rubins, Astronaut
World news – THAT – Reality TV show offers space trip, but Australian stargazers doubt it will get off the ground