Tuesday, August 31, 2010

SpaceUp DC

I was a participant at SpaceUp DC during the weekend of the 27th through the 28th. This conference was my first conference ever, and definitely not my last SpaceUp. I met many people, including Jen Scheer (@flyingjenny on twitter), Ben & Cariann Higginbotham (@bencredible and @cariann on twitter), Mike Doornbos, who hosted the event (@mrdoornbos on twitter), Doug Ellison, JPL visualization expert (@doug_ellison on twitter), CraftLass, a singer/songwriter that has been recognized for her song, "Bake Sale for NASA" (@craftlass on twitter), Jim Adams and his son (@nasajim on twitter), Gene Mikulka, founder of Talking Space podcast (@genejm29 on twitter), and many others.

I made so many new connections with people that I have been talking to on twitter beforehand, and connections with people that I otherwise wouldn't have had the closest chance of meeting. Meeting all of these people has really given me the courage to step out and say, "I am going to take an active role in making space more common around here. I need to, as a human, to show my fellow peers the wonders of the stars." SpaceUpDC and the participants there have really pushed me. They have given me the support structure needed to push myself and others.

Now on to what I actually thought about the conference. Day 1 was great. I was able to start recognizing people right off the bat, just from their twitter picture, or from other SpaceUp pictures that I have seen. Off the bat, I was able to recognize Ben and Cariann, Dave Masten, Jen Scheer and group, along with CraftLass (just a good inference on this last one). After the Ignite talks were through, CraftLass gave us our own little "concert", letting us listen to "Bake Sale for NASA". All in all, that song was good, in my humble opinion.

After all of the festivities for the day, a group of us went to dinner together. Eventually, we found about 14 others that went to a restaurant near where we were. Combined, there were roughly 20-30 people having dinner together in one area. Tim Bailey and I (@tim846 on twitter) discussed what I could do as a teenager for a future job in the field. He gave me all kinds of interesting tips, and I went to the hotel that night and registered for the SGAC (Space Generation Advisory Council).

When I came back the next morning, I decided that I was going to attempt to give a talk on teenagers and STEM. I watched two of Emory's (@VAXHeadroom on twitter) presentations on various things, ranging from nuclear thermal rockets, to SeaDragon, a ultra heavy launch vehicle. After that, the fun began. We had lunch, and then Thinkgeek showed up with Tribbles and we did an insane game where we threw tribbles at eachother. Team 2, the team I was on, won. Since we won, we were able to pick two tribbles instead of just one like team 1 did.

Anyways, that is enough talking about SpaceUp DC for now. It was great fun, and I am happy that I got to meet all kinds of people in the field.


  1. Yep, and that's the basic goal of any conference: to get in the "face time".

  2. Sounds like it was a awesomely good time Zach!