Not long ago, I received an email from a 27 year-old father of two, Gregory Schneider. Gregory told me he was shopping for a telescope online when he happened upon a video promoting the Seattle Space Needle's Space Race competition. The Grand Prize: A rocket ride to space.
Gregory, obsessed with space since he was a child, entered the race, and he wanted to win. Gregory had imparted his love for the heavens to his two children Emi (7) and Jude (3). He wanted to inspire them to always reach for their dreams. But at the time, Gregory was just one of 50,000 applicants hoping to take a ride in the hot seat. But then I got that email.
I ran a post on Gregory 12 days before the voting phase ended. At the time, Gregory had already vaulted to the 5th position on his own but the outcome was still in doubt, that is, until the Chivers launched Gregory to the #1 spot in 45 minutes flat.
The winner’s new ride
On his way to Seattle
The Five finalists were flown to Seattle for the finals this past week. Gregory made the final two after racing remote-controlled rovers, putting together a simulated solar panel, and doing mental and physical tasks while floating in an indoor-skydiving arena. The field was narrowed to two people, Gregory and Sara Cook. The night before, the two had dinner atop the Space Needle with Buzz Aldrin.
Lauren, one of the 5 finalists, piecing together legos the hard way
Then, the finals-finals, Gregory and Sara were brought to the Space Needle for the high-wire finals. The first task was to shinny up a ladder to the very top of the Space Needle’s antenna and set off an air horn. Schneider’s 29.69-second performance gave him say over whether he went first or second in the final competition. Next, the “Halo”.
Gregory and Sara were then hooked up with safety equipment and put out on the Needle’s “Halo,” a narrow, open-air ring circling the monument’s 520-foot-high observation deck.
The challenge was to walk around the Halo, periodically writing down the answers to word and trivia puzzles that were posted at 10 points on the course. (Two examples: Unscramble the word PALOLO … and tell how many stars are in the Big Dipper.)
Finally, the winner was announced
Gregory’s name was called. He won!
That KCCO will look brilliant in space methinks
“It was incredible to hear Buzz talk about walking on the moon and then get to shake his hand and realize I would soon be joining him in a small cadre of people who have been to outer space. It’s just unbelievable!! The actual flight probably won’t happen for a couple years as they are still perfecting the design of the rocket and doing test flights. But these companies are definitely fighting to get operational first, and Space Adventures is the only one who has actually already put private people in space.
John, please give a big thank you to all the Chivers who made this possible. This was an incredible experience—life changing—and I couldn’t have done it without their help. You guys are simply amazing.”
“I wish you could have seen the thrill on my kids faces when I came home and got to tell them all about how I’m now going to space!” Enjoy the video of the competition below.