WASHINGTON - The 21-year-old UVA student from Alexandria Pat Carney won a $100,000 ticket aboard the XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft.
"You take off on the runway, go up 1,000 meters a second, shooting up there, cross the official space barrier. I'll be one of the less than 600 astronauts who've been in space," said Carney.
He already had some pretty impressive training at the Axe Apollo Space Academy at Cape Canaveral last month.
More than 100 students at the camp came from 60 countries, all vying for one of 23 seats on the ride into space. To compete, and somewhat prepare, they were put through air combat exercises with G-4 simulation where, "you can feel your face peeling back," and pressure in your stomach and chest, like an elephant is stepping on you.
Only one American would win. The pilots wanted to see just how much the contestants could handle.
"You do a really tight circle, and to keep from passing out you have to squeeze your arms and legs really tight," he said the experienced G-4 ½ , which is similar to reentering space.
However, "The strangest and more awesome experience," Carney has ever had was being weightless on a modified 727, said Carney.
Carney handled everything so well, he beat out the other eight Americans to win a ticket to ride. Buzz Aldrin was there to congratulate him.
Just getting to Space Camp was an impressive endeavor for Carney, who loves video games. He is so good at Clash of Clans that he started making instructional videos. When he heard about the AXE contest, he asked his nearly 400,000 followers to vote for him. He received 120,000 votes of support and was second on the leader board, earning him a spot at Space Camp.
Sometime next year, Pat Carney will have a view of earth few people ever see.
(Copyright Gannett 2014)