About Me

What does it mean to go to a Rocket Launch?

NASA Social Media Event – Launch of CRS-NG-12 to the International Space Station on Nov 2, 2019 from NASA Wallops Flight Facility, VA, USA

“I went to M.A.R.S. last year”

“No you didn’t…”

“Yes, I did. I was invited to the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (M.A.R.S) to attend a NASA Social Media event!”

Wallops Island Pad0A

Wallops Island Pad0A – Photo Credit: Pierce Johnson

I went to MARS last year. The inspiration and desire to experience, even second hand, what is arguably one of the most important endeavors that human-kind has ever embarked on is something, I think most humans can relate to. It was a person goal of mine and was an experience that truly was out of the world.

Why space? Why spend the time and resources (carbon and dollars) to go? I constantly asked myself this question in the lead up to my trip as did friends and family, with great skepticism in some cases. To boldly go, where no one has gone before, is one of the most fantastic things humans can do, I think. There’s still so much about our world and universe that we don’t know. From the deep ocean, to the moon, to mars, to moons of Saturn and Titan and further beyond our local system to exoplanets beyond… it’s worth going, in my humble opinion, to visit, explore, and venture further. It’s curiosity that drives many of us, including myself. So, although I didn’t actually go into space, I went to M.A.R.S. last month and it almost felt like I did! This gave me a window and connection to folks who are working in space aboard the ISS, and truly was inspirational.

For me, just getting down to Chincoteague, Virginia was going to be my own challenge. The anticipation, the build-up, “pre-launch sequence” if you will, is undeniable and just like what one would expect from a mundane level in arranging travel to the extreme excitement of actually hearing the countdown announcement and rocket liftoff. As I drove the highways through Maryland and Virginia, passing through local areas, I could only think of what was to come for me later in the weekend. The thought of an actual rocket launch from a small island on  the Virginia coast and how what we would see, would soon (hopefully) be launched beyond the earthly bounds that hold most (but not all) humans… to have a week of anticipation, looking towards a single weekend where cargo would be sent to space, is a really interesting and incredible feeling.

Antares Rocket

Antares Rocket at Wallops Island Integration Facility (Staff giving us a tour)

The feel of a NASA base is something quite unique – akin to what many American’s experience on a US military base, there’s the usual “G-agents” – for Government Protective Services and security checks, who do this important job of installation security and control. Buildings have an austere quality to them, not unlike other university research stations I’ve visited at Woods Hole, MA, Narragansett, RI, Great Bay, NH, or Palisades, NY. Building and structure had names like Pad 0A or Building X1 make for exciting yet austere surroundings, with a federal govt. feel to them. Meeting the people was really the best part. Dedicated NASA and base personnel and the many different kinds of folks who were attending the event itself made for some truly great conversations and a strange but wonderful Sci-Stem camaraderie. Social Media was only the vessel by which our NASA enthusiast group would in a small way commune with space and history. The weekend was fantastic and an event I’ll never forget.

If you ever get a chance, it’s worth watching a Rocket Launch! I was awe struck by the amazing technology, human ingenuity and tenacity that allowed us to break the bonds of gravity and to boldly go beyond our planet to research and explore the unknown.

CRS-NG-12 Nov 2, 2019

Dedicated to my grandfather Sergeant EAD – Flight Instructor for Strategic Air Command


CRS-NG-12 Nov 2, 2019Launch photo from the successful NASA mission CRS-NG-12 taken via a NASA Social Media event at Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, for an International Space Station Resupply and Science mission: CRS-NG-12 on Nov 2, 2019 at 9:59:47 AM EST. #NASA #NASAsocial @NASA @NASAwallops @NASASocial

Something Ventured — A great documentary/movie about startups/ventures which can outgrow their founding employees (for better or worse in the case of Sandra Lerner/Cisco, & others which shall not be named) …

Something Ventured is a 2011 documentary film investigating the emergence of American venture capitalism in the mid-20th Century. Something Ventured follows the stories of the venture capitalists who worked with entrepreneurs to start and build companies like AppleIntelGenentechCiscoAtariTandem, and others. Something Ventured is a full-length independent film which includes interviews with prominent American venture capitalists and entrepreneurs of the 1960s, 70’s and 80’s as well as archival photography and footage. It is available on iTunes, Netflix, and from Zeitgeist Films.


I’m very excited to be in the final process of submitting my application to The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography for a master’s degree in Oceanography.  Thanks to everyone who has supported me and especially to those who’ve been references or written me recommendations!

We are into our second day on EN519, a ‘Red Tide’ Cyst cruise in the Gulf of Maine.

We are at sampling station # 15, somewhere off the coast of New Hampshire in the south western portion of the Gulf of Maine.

Everyone almost has a routine down by now. There are 3 watches in the science party, which holds a combined 24 hour watch for the 9 day cruise: 12:00 AM – 4:00 AM, 4:00 AM – 8:00 AM, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM, 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM.

We saw some pilot and fin whales this morning when the visibility was good; the seas were flat, calm, and the sun was out.

Location: 42 deg., 42.687 North 70 deg., 31.117 West

Time: UTC 299 16:55:00

I am excited to be participating in WHOI’s GOMTOX project again this October. I will be sailing aboard a ‘Cyst cruise’, investigating A. fundyense, a toxic dinoflagellate (and one of the causative organisms of ‘red tide’ in shellfish) in the Gulf of Maine, Cape Cod, and Georges Bank. We will be looking to both monitor and predict ‘red tide’ and toxicity in shellfish beds, benthic sediments, and the water column.