Space in Vegas

I was in Las Vegas recently visiting an amazing Space visionary, Robert Bigelow, when Curiousty landed on Mars. I was actually walking down the strip trying to find a place where my iPhone could capture enough bandwidth to stream down the landing of that spectacular and scary event.

As I walked the strip, I saw a huge series of large screens that proudly displayed the live event! How cool was that! NASA in 10 foot-tall letters stretched across the sky in Vegas. It was so cool to stand there with all the vacationers from all over the world and watch history unfolding. I would have not put my money on that mission. Sky cranes, hovering rocket platforms, and hundreds of events happening perfectly. As it would turn out, NASA and JPL definitely still have the right stuff and it really felt good to be an American while in Vegas! Definitely not a typical money-spending Vegas trip, but it was an out-of-this-world experience that inspires so many of us to continue our quest to explore space, or maybe win a Google Lunar X PRIZE!

The Past Meets the Future at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Sat, 02/05/2011 – 19:45 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
I had an awesome night at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) here in the Rocket City Thursday night. It was an incredible experience to be having dinner underneath this behemoth moon rocket known as the Saturn V. Incredible!
We were at a special awards ceremony honoring Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, 96, an original German rocket scientist, NASA engineer on the Saturn V and lifelong educator. He received the Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Education from Neil Armstrong! How cool is that? This was a very rare and cool experience for all of us here in Huntsville and Alabama.
We had several team members and students in the audience. We had students from the University of Alabama Huntsville and the Huntsville Center for Technology. I had the honor of meeting Neil Armstrong and dining next to Owen Garriott. They are both great guys. I got to ask Owen what it was like riding on top of the Giant. I also got to meet “Dr von T.”
Dynetics and the Rocket City Space Pioneers sponsored the event and had a great opportunity to share our Google Prize entry with the local space community. Governor Robert Bentley, just recently sworn into office, was there, celebrating his birthday on this momentous occasion. He had great things to say about the USSRC and was looking forward to continuing to support the facility. I have to agree that the Center is amazing, and it is one of the centerpieces of Huntsville and the state.
The evening was inspirational. We are truly grateful to these space heroes who paved the way for what we are doing today!

Inspiring Young People to Dream and Achieve

Sat, 12/04/2010 – 23:07 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
Inspiring young people to dream and go after their dreams is so important. The Google Lunar X PRIZE gives us a venue to inspire and educate. I’m excited about the opportunity to visit a local Boys and Girls Club next week to talk about our mission and to have some fun.
I will be talking to the kids about our mission to the moon and firing a rocket engine. I will also show them the prototype lander that students at the Huntsville Center for Technology built as an example of what students just like them can do.
I want to let these young people know it doesn’t always take a lot of money – just imagination, dreams and some work to make something fly.
I also want them to get excited about a Huntsville team building a lander and rover to go to the moon. I want to remind them that with ambition and hard work, dreams can become reality.
Thanks to the X PRIZE Foundation for inspiring us to dream and achieve!
I am looking forward to sharing with the kids about my home projects such as my rocket bike and jet-powered scooter that I just might try to demo. Boy, is it loud and cool! It runs on kerosene and is a real jet engine that can push the scooter at speeds up to 30 mph. I demonstrated my scooter at Dynetics’ recent FASTSAT Launch Party, and “kids” of all ages had a blast. The kids always get a kick out of anything that makes noise, fire, smoke, and looks like stuff that they have at home, like bikes and scooters.
Relating to these students is important to me, and that is a huge part of challenging them to dream and build. I am a product of the local school system, including two years of tech school in the 11th and 12th grades. It is clear to me that you can do anything you put your mind to, and I want to make sure the kids leave with a sense of wonder and inspiration to stay focused and chase their dreams.
I sure hope the weather cooperates! We’ll post some videos of our visit to the Boys and Girls Club.