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  • Writer's pictureEmily Shepherdson

Space Race 2.0

We are in an era where technology is advancing rapidly, expanding our capabilities further than ever before. For the space industry, that means countries around the world have their sights set on the red planet! Welcome to Space Race 2.0: Mars.

What better way to start off the Science! section than with the recent Falcon Heavy launch! While not ALL of my Science! posts will be about space, I am extremely passionate about the advancement of space exploration capabilities and when I watched this launch on February 6, 2018, it brought tears to my eyes.

First of all, Elon Musk is one of my heroes. He has brought life back into an industry that has been relatively dormant over the past 35 years by challenging the impossible. His company, SpaceX, has created reusable rockets which not only is a feat of science, it greatly reduces the cost of space exploration, making getting to space much more accessible aka more missions to outer space and beyond! 

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch on February 6, 2018 from Kennedy Space Center. Credit: SpaceX

The Falcon Heavy Rocket is the most powerful rocket in the world. With a thrust force of approximately eighteen 747 aircraft at full power (1) it can lift almost 3 times the payload than that of the previous space shuttle. Quite impressive if I do say so myself. That, however, is not what brought tears to my eyes. 

Watching the launch of the most powerful rocket in the world: incredible. 

Watching Starman soar off into space in the Tesla convertible: hilarious and incredible.

Watching the two side cores land simultaneously back on Earth: chilled me to my core.

The Falcon Heavy is comprised of two side cores (boosters) and the center core - all of which are reusable. As I watched the two side cores land back on Earth... right beside each other... at the exact same time... is when I realized I had tears streaming down my cheeks. The precision of the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) technology required to accomplish such a task is utterly amazing. Unfortunately, the center core didn't quite stick the landing on the offshore barge, but hey, no one is perfect - with every failure comes an opportunity to learn and improve!

There is one thing that I must call attention to - this is a blog designed to motivate women after all - there was a SERIOUS lack of women in the SpaceX launch crowd. It was something that immediately killed my excitement #wheremygirlsat.

For context, the president and COO of SpaceX is a woman. So, my point here isn't to place blame, but, simply highlight that there is definitely a lack of women in that room and in STEM and that needs to change! To help drive this change, I have pulled out some interesting job options at SpaceX and included the education path you would need to take to get there.

STEM Career Options at SpaceX

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