Why didn’t I think of that?
The TV remote control/bottle opener, the swivel passenger car seat, or the battery operated twirling spaghetti fork? You know it, I’ll bet at least once you’ve thought of some cool invention and then let it slip away into the graveyard of great ideas. Lauren Rojas, a seventh grader from Antioch California had a great idea for her science project and she sent it near space. Why didn’t I think of this?
Her video link is below. If you have a chance to go to this website, this video may brighten your day. If you are at your computer reading this article, I won’t be offended if you stop reading for a 4 minute inspiring story. http://www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_22543691/hello-kitty-says-hello-space-thanks-antioch-teens
In this column, I have not shied away from asking the tough question, why go to space? Watch this video, and see why the question won’t go away.
Fans of the TV show Mad Men got a glimpse into the back room of the advertising business. Ad people can get us to be passionately connected to a phone or a car. They tell us a story or create a product we didn’t even know we wanted. But we do.
The New Mexico Space Grant Student Launch program sent 5 experiments to near space in a very similar way to Lauren’s. You can view our video and photographs of our 2009 campaign at this website http://www.launchnm.com/summer_institute_2009.php . The difference between our campaign and Lauren’s is a doll, Hello Kitty.
Lauren put her experiment together and packaged it, just like we did during our campaign. Except Lauren went one more step. She did something thirteen year olds do. Lauren made a rocket and put her favorite doll in it. The rocket looks like a mini-V2. She cut a hole in the front of the rocket and put her in her Hello Kitty doll in the hole so it could peek out. Then she attached the rocket to a small arm platform and attached the platform to her experiment container. Her experiment measured temperature, altitude. We did that. She had 4 cameras in her experiment, filming her flight. We did that. Oh, except, she had one camera trained on Hello Kitty for the entire ride. Hello Kitty got to see the curvature of the earth, experience high altitude winds – which did not mess up her hair even. Now Lauren and Hello Kitty are famous. Hello Kitty got over 300,000 hits on Youtube. How come?
It’s the sizzle stupid, not the steak. In the advertising world, the message is clear – sell the sizzle not the steak. Hello Kitty is very cute and my wake up call. It’s hard to make a rocket cute and fun, but she did it. There is attraction to working a problem, even tough problems. People love the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. It’s the challenge – battle. I get up each day, hungry to get this space program to the next level for New Mexicans – and if it means having more fun, well, alright, I’ll do it.
Ok, here’s a little steak. The FAA released the Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation. It can be found at http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/media/The_Annual_Compendium_of_Commercial_Space_Transporation_2012.pdf . This report is published annually. The Associate Administrator of the FAA Commercial Space Transportation division George Nield wrote, The compendium is structured in a way to tell the commercial space industry story: first describing the important participants (including orbital and suborbital launch vehicles, spaceports, and beyond-Earth-orbit commercial ventures), next covering the environment in which they must operate (including regulations, policies, and financing), and finally providing a status of the industry’s progress and an outlook for what the future may portend.”
For those of you in our community who want to put our commercial space efforts in New Mexico into context with not only other states but other nations, this report provides the facts you will want. I have sent this report to our legislators. It is best they are well informed as we progress forward in this industry. If you would like to look at the 3 vehicles that will operate out of Spaceport America, go to pages 135-137. Spaceport America is covered on page 150. I believe having realistic expectations based on good research helps most of us make good decisions.
Final thoughts for the week, if you think it you can – do it. Tell me if you put a good idea into motion. I’ll share it next article.