Several months ago Nasa made a call for social influencers, opening the application process to anyone that thought they might be able to spread the word about the amazing science and technology behind the Cygnus Antares Rocket launch at NASA Wallops Island. So Pip applied.
He was a part of the first group accepted, and upon hearing that we were in, we had one thing to do first. Make sure that NASA had actually read our application and knew that Pip was in fact a cat. The event was two full days of scheduled activities leading up to the actual launch, so many moving parts, and so much to do, so we were quite surprised when NASA responded to our inquiry with the answer, that of course Pip was welcome, and they would even give him his very own day to see everything and create his content. So full disclosure, Pip was at NASA Wallops Island on Monday, meeting with Chelsea the social media leader, and getting a private tour of some really really awesome stuff.
He got to see the hugest NASA meatball (how they refer to their logo)!
And then he got to see Wallops Island’s private beach!
He was able to explore and interact with a gigantic camera that is controlled remotely for launches like this, but sometimes has someone inside of it too!
Pip got to play in a piece of a rocket that was once in space!
And then it was time for Pip to take a few days off, and his stunt double to step in 🙂
I met so many cool scientists, and even a former astronaut, and was able to ask whatever questions I wanted. I learned all about the different things being put into the Antares rocket for this specific launch. Which included thousands of pounds of food for the International Space Station (yes- it’s already arrived!), 40 mice that will undergo experiments to study our immune systems, and hundreds of school projects that filled the empty spaces in the payloads. These school projects called “ThinSats” are really really awesome! Some were done by students in college, but many were done by students much younger, even in elementary school. We are so impressed with this program and what they have been able to do with students.
We were given custom hats, badges, pins, and the coolest socks ever by all the different groups involved in this project.
Exclusive media access to the launch, meant we were close enough to feel it- hence why the stunt double took over. After 2 days of tours, and lectures, and press conferences, we made our way by bus to the viewing area. We were there with a very small group of people, specifically from the media. One of our new friends was going live on his news station in Virginia, another was going live for his radio show, and we were just taking in our first ever rocket launch! We saw it, and then we heard it. What a cool experience, I’ll never forget. If you want to see the rocket launch, watch our video at the top of this page!
We want to once again thank NASA and their social media team for having both myself and Pip. We know that having Pip come was unusual for them, and we appreciate their open minds and willingness to let him participate in such a special way. Putting aside time to personally escort him about the facility was the most thoughtful thing, and we never imagined that they would take time out of their extremely busy pre-launch schedule to let Pip participate on his own! Of course I want to thank them for all the knowledge I gained, I came here knowing almost nothing about space, and am leaving knowing so much!
I can’t wait for Pip’s next visit to local schools so we can tell the kids all about what we learned and that Pip was actually in something that went to space! I mean HOW COOL! And I can’t wait to share the pictures and video with our nursing home residents as well. They knew we were rescheduling our visits today because Pip was going to NASA and they are eagerly waiting his return to hear all about it!
Go Cygnus! Go Antares! Go Science!