It had only been a few short hours since I left the cold, harsh NYC weather, and landed in sunny, warm, unfamiliar Orlando, Florida. I had no idea what to expect. My idea of Orlando had been theme parks and resorts. In fact, I really had never contemplated the Kennedy Space Center in terms of its Floridian landscape, but just a few days ago, that’s exactly where I had landed, and I was excited to see some cool space stuff!
On early Saturday morning, I woke up anxious for my day at NASA. Because I didn’t rent a car, I waited for a stranger to pick me up from my hotel and drive us to go pick up our credentials. While the idea of getting in a car with a stranger seems a little weird and something I would generally frown upon, I should clarify that my friendly car-pool driver was also there for the NASA social, and we had been online for weeks prior getting to know each other and planning the logistics for the event. I also want to note that we both had undergone NASA background checks and passed, and this driver would quickly become one of my favorite people!
I suppose the more interesting question is ‘what was I doing at NASA’? Long story short, NASA has an engagement program that invites members of the public who interact with them on their various social media platforms, and have a diverse audience of their own- either through social media, news, or education- to come hang out with them for a few days, learn about their processes, engineering, etc., tour the facility, and (hopefully) see a launch. I was chosen. And after some minor disbelief, a brief freak out, frantic planning, and a ride from a kind stranger- turned- friend, I found myself standing within NASA’s ginormous Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Unfortunately, I did not get to see the launch of the SpaceX-3. Although the last minute postponement of the launch was a bit heartbreaking, I still has an outstanding, mind-altering good time!
During my time at NASA, I really did see and do some amazing things, and I wanted to share some of my trip with you! So, I’m breaking my experience up into 2-3 separate posts. I thought the first post should be more like a pictorial brag (humbly, of course).
But, before you dig into my awesome photos, I’m sure what you’re wondering is, “What does NASA have to do with anthropology? That’s, like, so totally random!” Well, I thought I was going to have the same trouble trying to connect the two areas, but what I learned is NASA and their technological goals mix into so many areas of human and social development. It’s absolutely incredible, inspiring and something I’ll talk more about in my next post! Stay tuned next week for part two!
In the meantime, tell me, are you a space fan? Have you ever visited any NASA facilities? I love comments and questions, so post them!