About Nancy
Nancy Vermeulen Private Astronaut Trainer


Nancy Vermeulen is a commercial airline pilot-instructor, Master in theoretical physics and astronomy, was Commander of a Mars simulation in Utah and took part in the ESA astronaut selections of 2008.

Bringing the universe closer to people and vice a versa, that is Nancy Vermeulen’s personal mission. In 2018 she founded the Space Training Academy where she prepares private astronauts and suborbital scientists for their first journey into space.

She is an international motivational speaker and guest lecturer for, among others: TEDx events, Deloitte University, European Commission.

In 2021 she published a book “Iedereen Ruimtevaarder” (everyone an astronaut) (Lannoo).

Since the beginning of 2023 she is involved in the Einstein Telescope project as a stakeholder manager for the Meuse–Rhine Euroregion.

Nancy Vermeulen with Sir Richard Branson Virgin Galactic


In 2011, Nancy Vermeulen personally met one the greatest pioneers of the commercial space travel industry, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, which offers space voyages. Sir Richard inspired Nancy Vermeulen not only to apply her knowledge and expertise to science, but to share it with the public at large too. Nancy Vermeulen is now a highly sought after speaker on international platforms.

Nancy Vermeulen Commander Mars Simulation


As a scientist, Nancy Vermeulen conducted research at the University of Antwerp (Biomedical Physics) and at Delft University of Technology (new technologies for greener air traffic). Nancy Vermeulen was involved in working on a new instrument for measuring climate change from space for the Royal Belgian Meteorological Institute / Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence. She also lectures in physics and mathematics.

Nancy Vermeulen Commander Mars Simulation


Nancy Vermeulen was the commander and chief organizer of the "MDRS90" mars simulation mission. She developed this project, presented it to NASA’s Mars Society and obtained permission to train a team in a "Mars simulation mission" at the "Mars Desert Research Station" in Utah, U.S.A.

During the mission, Nancy learned how to carry out scientific experiments during a mission and what to do in an emergency.

Nancy Vermeulen Pilot-Instructor


To increase her chances of becoming an astronaut for the European Space Agency (ESA), Nancy first wanted to learn to fly within the atmosphere. She therefore trained as an airline pilot at the Flight Academy of former Royal Belgian Airline Sabena and became one of the few female airline pilots. Nancy was responsible for VIP passenger flights and flew large Boeing 727 and Airbus 300 aircraft. She also put her life at risk during wartime by flying an Airbus 300 cargo plane to Bagdad. She received a special distinction for military operations from the American government for this.

Nancy Vermeulen Candidate Astronaut


In 2008, the space adventure could begin! Nancy was able to participate in the European Space Agency’s stringent astronaut selection process. Only one in ten candidates was female. To prepare for the extensive astronaut training program, Nancy Vermeulen learned scuba diving, followed a high-altitude training and became an aerobatics pilot.

Nancy Vermeulen Astrophysicist


Nancy Vermeulen already knew as a child what she wanted to be: "an astronaut". She worked at the observatory and planetarium of Antwerp in her free time. She completed her studies in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Antwerp magna cum laude / with high distinction.

Nancy Vermeulen has a Master of Science in Physics.