Tucson man wins Space Needle Space Race 2012

Gregory Schneider was selected for a trip to space from 50,000 entrants.

Tucson man wins Space Needle Space Race 2012

CREATED May 10, 2012

Web Producer - Sara Wright

Just call him "Rocket Man"! A Tucson man beat out tens of thousands of others to win a free trip into space. Gregory Schneider is a recent UofA Law School grad and works as a appellate court clerk. He say his children inspired him to enter the Space Needle Space Race 2012. And now, he's heading for the stars!

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was on-hand to help in the last two challenges including a hair-raising race around the outer ring of the needle.

"The winner of space race 2012 Gregory!" said Aldrin.

Schenider was overtaken by emotion. "This is just really thrilling to me. I think space flight and the more people who get to see the world from a different perspective the closer we can all come together", he said.

Schneider will get to experience his own sub-orbital trip into space - including up to five minutes of weightlessness. He just finished law school, is a father of two with a baby on the way, and can now add "astronaut for a day" to his resume.

"This is truly amazing. The time of my life," Schneider said.

The runner up - Sara Cook of Washington, DC said just getting to this point was well worth it.

"I wasn't the one to win it but it was a really incredible journey throughout this whole thing," Cook said.

There is no date yet for Schneider's blast-off into space. By the way ... that trip is worth more than $100,000!