Discovery adventure TV show to launch winning contestant to the space station

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The view from SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour of the International Space Station, as well as the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft Resilience, as the capsule approached to dock on April 24, 2021.
NASA TV

Discovery on Tuesday announced a competitive adventure TV show called “Who Wants To Be An Astronaut?” that will launch the winning contestant to the International Space Station.

The eight part series is scheduled to take place in 2022, with the winner expected to get a seat on Axiom Space's AX-2 mission and spend eight days onboard the ISS. Axiom is currently working toward its AX-1 mission, scheduled for January 2022, which will launch a fully private crew using a SpaceX rocket and capsule.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for space storytelling that gives us an opportunity to see the Earth from a vantage point few have ever experienced,” Discovery's Science Channel executive vice president Scott Lewers said in a news release. “It is truly the next frontier for those who not only dream of traveling into space, but are also curious about the mysteries of the universe. We are looking forward to taking our audience on this unprecedented journey.”

Discovery's TV show is open to members of the public, with an online application asking for a one-minute video and answers to questions including: “Why you deserve a chance to travel to space, what it would mean to you, and why you want to participate.”

The TV show itself “will be grueling,” with a series of “extreme challenges” that Discovery says are designed to test contestants “on the attributes real astronauts need most, and as they undergo the training necessary to qualify for space flight and life on board the space station.”

A panel of expert judges, yet to be named, will pick “one lucky candidate” to then fly to space.

It is the latest in a number of spaceflight contests, with Elon Musk's SpaceX set to launch the Inspiration4 mission in September (which held public competitions for two of the four seats), Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin holding an online public auction for a seat on its first space tourism flight scheduled for July 20, and U.S. production company Space Hero announcing a similar reality TV show to Discovery's – also launching with Axiom and scheduled for 2023.

The TV show's announcement comes after telecom giant AT&T on Monday announced the combination of content unit WarnerMedia with Discovery to form a new media giant.

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