Ground control to Major Shaunna

After Piers’ note number 177, you’ll know that Isle is sending a staff member into space*. Find out who won and read some of the best 300 word submissions.

Isle is now officially part of SpaceBuzz. As part of our involvement, we get to contribute to the education programme, specifically around water (and therefore help educate potentially hundreds of millions of children). We also get a ticket on a parabolic flight. This is the flight where a plane drops and everyone floats for 20 seconds, to give astronauts training in weightlessness. They do this a number of times (or until everyone is sick). The flight is from Bordeaux mid September and to decide who went, we put together an Isle lottery. Below are some of the best entries, and the winner of the lottery was Shaunna Cubberley, of Isle’s UK team.


Weightlessness: This journey started at the tender age of 7, when my dad decided it would be important to take me to our local science museum. Frankly, I was more interested in playing in the garden with worms and mud than having the world explained by text on signposts. But when I heard about the space-section, my imagination was captured – surely they must have a chamber where you can experience what it is like to be an astronaut floating through space!

To say that I was mildly disappointed with what I found would be a blatant understatement…

I spent much of my time growing up trying to get a glimpse of the feeling – from trampolines to seriously considering a career in technical diving – all to escape the binding force of gravity. Now I feel like the chance is within reach, so I would love to join the lottery – hoping to win of course!

BTW, I just got off a plane from Paris to Vienna – again, they didn’t do it…


Typically, I would elbow my husband out of the way and throw my own name in the hat for this kind of adventure, but I’m nursing our newborn son and haven’t seen the data yet on the effects of Zero Gs on that. My beloved husband Hank, however, is a really fun candidate. He’s been an explorer his whole life, making a career out of it as the Chief Mate on an ocean-going tugboat and with his private passion for aerial photography (have a look: Every day he sets out to look at our little blue planet from different angles, always wondering about different perspectives and trying to capture the view. But if that was all there was to him I wouldn’t be so keen to recommend him. One of the reasons I appreciate my husband so much is his generous spirit. Ever since he was a teenager he’s been a mentor to kids in our small community. He’s been sharing his enormous enthusiasm for life with kids big and small for decades in an effort to excite them about the joyful possibilities on this planet, and hopefully distract them from more painful paths. A lot of his “kids” are now adults whom he still stays in touch with. I see how important he’s been to them and how his effort to live with purpose has inspired them. We come from a small town not used to stepping outside the lines the way Hank has. Taking a ride on a Zero G plane would be so otherworldly to folks from our tiny town in North Carolina that it would have an enormous impact and, hopefully, inspire some to swing a little harder at life.


I wish to express my worthiness through song (full permission of the artist):

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom

Take your sickness pills and put your Isle logo on

Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may Piers’ love be with you (two, one, lift-off)

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really won the draw
And the papers want to know whose t-shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the office if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing Isle can’t do.

And I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very ill
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my mum I love her very much she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you “Here am I floating ‘round my tin can
Far above the moon
Planet Earth is blue

And there’s nothing Isle can’t do.


When you observe water, then you can discover two opposing phenomena: for one, the water stays close to earth under gravity, always flowing in patterns (and systems) around the Earth. On the other hand, you have water that rises up, overcoming gravity, moving up breaking away from old patterns, moving away from earth.

You can compare both scenarios with our mind and thoughts: day-to-day habits and routines, close to the Earth, not able to rise to be able to observe something from above; and new, daring thoughts that are rising up and further up.

For water, the driving force is warmth, the sun. It could also be thought of as fire, which is what we try to bring to the people to spark new thinking and excitement, to open them up for innovations and to move forward. We want to change our mindset about our Earth and the most valuable source of life, water. Let’s connect the old patterns and these new rising thoughts. Thoughts that gain freedom from the old through innovation while maintaining an all-important overview.

Let’s give our children the courage to think differently.


Although the initial reason to suggest Isle to join Spacebuzz had nothing to do with the ZeroG flight, it is a massive shot of cream on the already fantastic pie. I would be very pleased to participate in the lottery for in fact several reasons (in random order): 1) meet André Kuipers, who in future may lead me to a meeting with Willem-Alexander and Maxima, 2) an extraordinary experience which no normal human will ever experience and very extreme, I’d love to do 3) having a valid excuse to stitch an Isle badge to my clothing and 4) my first 10k hits Linkedin post will make me win a battle with Erik. Make my piece of paper a bit sticky before putting it into the hat please.


Space has been and will remain the biggest transformational indirect force. First space was the inspiration for myths and religions that helps our species to develop larger communities by sharing a common believes. Later humanity capitalizes on our intelligence and pattern recognition to use space as a tool, revolutionizing agriculture and sea voyage. Without space humanity, won’t be able to generate a food surplus or discover distant lands.

Later space redefines our place in the universe and displace humankind of its centre and opening the doors for a pursuit of sciences, transforming everything again.

Last century space shows humanity its true potential for innovation and destruction. We put a man on the moon and conquer the last frontier with the ISS but at the same time developed ICBM to unleash hell on a global scale. Bringing into reality our greatest dreams and nightmares. Space indirectly, quietly revolutionize everything again. Satellites and ICBM change the fabrics of politics and society

What a time to be alive. Space take again the centre stage and leads humanity on its greatest journey. To understand the universe, understand our place and become an interplanetary species. I am writing with the two Falcon Heavy rockets landing in symmetry in my computer background. To remind me every day that there are no limits to innovation and human endeavours. For the first time in history, the best minds are working together with unparalleled resources and technology to achieve greater goals than merely gain military superiority.

Now space shows humanity the fragility of our home, our connection and urgent need to save it. I want to participate in this one in a lifetime opportunity to be part of this great journey, help to preserve our world and make an impact on my own passion and area of expertise. The element that gives the pale blue dot its unique colour; water.


I come round, slight metallic taste in my mouth and blurred vision; disorientated I hear a thumping sound. I hear a friendly voice and feel myself being moved and lifted up. I’m not in pain but something feels different. My next memory is seeing the snow-covered mountains from above and the rest is blank until I have a French doctor asking me what day it is. I’m now in a white walled hospital ward and piecing together the past 24hours.

As with everyday in the past 2 months I had gone out on my lunch break to hit the slopes and snowboard. I’m 18 and taken the chance to work in a French snowboard shop in the Alps as it was a lifelong ambition to be able to be on the snow every day. I love the freedom, the environment and the lifestyle but most of all I am addicted to that rush from throwing myself in the air. That exhilaration and stomach-turning lurch that hits you as you launch off a jump or even when you drive over a small bridge at speed.

This is how I ended up in a crumpled heap on the floor and an expensive helicopter ride down to Annecy hospital at the foot of the mountains. This is my commitment. I broke the lowest vertebrae in my back chasing that feeling and as a result couldn’t feel my legs for a few days; an unnerving experience that took a while to recover.

But, I recovered and I still love snowboarding and still crave that feeling. I even took up kite surfing to find that feeling during the summers. So, this is my plea to be entered into the lottery. What could beat a weightless flight?? It seems like the ultimate flying experience.


I would like to be entered into the lottery for the weightless flight because quite frankly the very thought of it scares the shit out of me. As a kid, I was fairly gutsy, I always enjoyed trying things that would make my heart race and give that buzz of adrenaline. That desire drove my determination to leave home, travel the world, do a sky dive, climb high mountains, scuba dive etc etc. However, after getting pregnant and having a baby in my 30s things seemed to change quite significantly. I suddenly felt a huge sense of responsibility over both my life and the life of another individual which I hadn’t felt before. It has made me think of life as being more precious, but also made me feel more risk averse as I worry that if something happened to me, then what would be the consequence for my daughter growing up. I therefore feel becoming a mum has turned me into a bit of a scaredy cat and I really don’t want to feel like that. I want to feel strong and brave and adventurous as this is how I want to inspire my daughter to be. So even though the thought of being in a weightless flight really does terrifies me, I’m putting myself forward because I don’t want to be held back by fear and this seems a once in a lifetime opportunity.


After a pretty rocky 2017 I decided to become more of a “yes man”. Life’s too short ‘n all that. So when the opportunity came about to apply to go on SpaceBuzz’s ZeroG vomit comet two days after my wedding…and 50 miles from where we’re supposed to be getting married, it was hard to justify why I would say no. Despite being utterly petrified.

Should I wear my Isle t-shirt over my wedding dress? Should I do it eating wedding cake? Will my video even be swear word free to be able to inspire children? I don’t know these answers. What I do know is that it will either be a marriage shorter than Kim Kardashian (due to death) or a fantastic way to kickstart married life.

*the vomit comet does not send people to space.

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