Artemis is the next huge space endeavor, and as a part of the Artemis Generation, I wanted to learn everything I could about the program.
Sunday, Dec 8, 2019 – Looking forward for Artemis Day
Rummaging through my carry-on, I looked for my passport and driver’s license. Two shirts, a DSLR, notebook, charging cords – I didn’t see the need for actual luggage when I could stuff everything into my backpack for such a short trip.
After locating the identification, I returned to my phone to skim the informational e-mail. “NASA Social #Artemis Day,” it was entitled. A NASA Social is the opportunity for American citizens to see behind the scenes for the agency’s upcoming missions and programs. The in-person event is at the cost of those invited, but individuals with unique social media are able to experience the NASA Center in a way the normal public is not. When I found a Social just a hop and skip away in New Orleans, Louisiana, I jumped to sign up. After selected, I simply couldn’t wait.
New Orleans hosts the world’s best beignets, gumbo, and Mardi Gras. All a given fact. A little-known rocket factory resides in the swamp as well. NASA Michoud Assembly Facility boasts 832 acres for manufacturing items launched into space. Just over sixty years ago, the Saturn V was designed at Marshall Space Flight Center and machined at Michoud.
Monday, Dec 9, 2019 – The Opportunity of a Lifetime
Dawn has yet to break when I check into the government facility. “Artemis Day” highlights the massive SLS rocket that will return Americans to the moon in 2024. This particular rocket, Artemis I, will be used as a demonstration of sorts. Its path will leave Earth, curve around the Moon, and return. The anticipated launch date is July 2020.
Jim Bridenstine conducted the Artemis Day press conference, highlighting the completion of the SLS Core Stage. Seeing the dynamics of a meeting this important was amazing. Bridenstine was answering reporter’s detailed questions. Four astronauts sat nearby, prepared to contribute to other activities later. Legislators and staff, social media writers, NASA personnel – the sheer diversity of the audience made the day more complex.
At the close of Bridenstine’s remarks, each group navigated to a different part of the facility. There were booths to learn about how different American companies and other NASA centers contributed to the creation of the SLS over the years.
A tour around Michoud provided history and context. A barge named Pegasus will ship the core stage to the NASA Stennis Space Center over a week.
My role in all of this was exposure. Artemis is the next huge space endeavor, and as a part of the Artemis Generation, I wanted to learn everything I could about the program. I scribbled out a million ideas for articles, videos, podcasts. What I researched in classrooms became reality as I saw with my own eyes a variety of strategic science public relations tactics and strategies. Friends were made, gumbo was eaten. Needless to say, this is only the beginning of the SLS articles I would write.
Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019 – The End is the Beginning
The two-day event included a tour of NASA Stennis Space Center, seeing Aerojet Rocketdyne’s refurbishment of the Space Shuttle engines (more on that later), and the rocket engine testing stand. I was able to stand feet away from RS-25 engines that had been in space 16 times, see the skyscraper that NASA uses to safely test those engines.
Again, my research in action. Newly found friends were recording NASA engineers explaining the test stand, taking selfies with the engines, and scribbling out notes for future projects. Who wouldn’t, honestly? NASA had provided us two days of inspiration to make more content highlighting their Artemis program and SLS rocket. And as the NASA enthusiasts that we were, we were excited.
If you’re excited for a NASA Social, you can follow their twitter for opportunities to go behind the scenes. However, as a transparent agency, NASA shares its content on www.nasa.gov for the public to learn and share.
Even though it’s the end of the 2010s-decade, Let’s Get Sciencey only has more exciting content to share next year. Science is always progressing and we’re here to bring in a digestible format for you. I’ll be signing off for 2019 with Mrs. Frizzle’s famous quote: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”
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