A Ticket to Outer Space

University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences alumna among first civilians to travel to space

A graduate of the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) is one of the few ticket holders to take part in the first XCOR Space Expedition. The private aerospace company is slated to send the first “commercial astronauts” into space, and A&S psychology alumna Elisa Mallis, B.S. ’95, will be one of the civilian astronauts.

Why make such a far trek no civilian in history has ever made? Simply put, Mallis never felt like she belonged to any one place, so space seemed like a natural way to strip down cultures and languages and just be a human. Having lived in nearly 16 countries so far, Mallis has a case of un-identity.

“Growing up between two countries (spending six months in one and six months in the other throughout my childhood) my experience was one of not completely belonging/fitting in at one ‘home town’ or another,” she said in a Q&A session with Parabolic Arc. “As I searched far and wide for my own true identity, I realized that the most important part of it was in being human… a human being.”

Mallis’ post-graduate career path has led her to work for companies all over the world, one of which brought her to lead Global Mindset workshops for multi-national companies in Asia. Workshop exercises are designed to help business managers and leaders think and make decisions from a global, all-encompassing perspective.

“If we want to secure the well-being of the earth and our species, we must radically shift our perspective to see the world as a whole, rather than a collection of separate entities,” she said. “My purpose for going to space is to accelerate the mindset shift that will push humanity forward by making the earth from space perspective accessible to everyone.

XCOR aims to open the market for commercial space and rid the notion that space is the elusive, exclusive domain of governments and agencies like NASA. Those like Mallis, who are interested in civilian space exploration, are known as XCOR Space Expedition Founders. As a founder, Mallis will go through rigorous preparations and testing before spaceflight, which is set to take place sometime in 2017.

To read the full story and see a video of Mallis’ training, click here.

March 08, 2016