This has certainly been an epic year. I got married (thankyouverymuch), went to Hawaii and lots and lots of gorgeous places in California, still live in basically a southern California paradise (year-round palm trees, ocean, pool, hot tub… it’s really quite lovely) with lots of people coming to visit. Work has been amazing. We launched our demo crew capsule to the International Space Station which looked and felt like sci-fi; we launched more rockets including a couple of Falcon Heavy launches that are amazing to watch, AND we launched our first collection of Starlink satellites — all first of their kind sorts of events.
The Aerospace world is pretty excited this year, of course, for another first… 50 years ago — on July 20th — the first human being set foot on the moon. Six years later on the same day, I was born. So I’ve always felt a personal connection to the moon landing.
I didn’t start out aiming at Aerospace. I wanted to be an astronaut as much as the next kid; I liked stargazing and I remember watching for meteorites while camping, or in the back yard, for as long as I can remember. But I had, and have, a million other hobbies. I ended up in Math and Computer Science in college. The fact that my first real job out of college took me to Wright Patterson Air Force Base was a domino effect directly from friends I’d made in grade school more than the industry itself. I was there because computers were everywhere, and I carved a niche in coding, data, and analytics. I got lucky again when I got to work on more and more interesting projects — supply and operational management related to the F22 and F35, process optimizations for the AWACS/E3, tracking systems for nuclear war materials, and QA and systems consolidation for the Air Force and eventually NASA’s logistics systems.
It’s only recently that I can look back and say, huh… I’ve spent the better part of the last 20 years in Aerospace. I’ve had dalliances in insurance, banking, healthcare… but those were brief. In the last couple of years I realized that I can actually lay some claim to the titles “Aerospace Engineer” and “Rocket Scientist”. No, I can’t design an engine, or an airfoil… well… at least that’s not what I actually do during the day. But I’ve had Software Engineer and Data Scientist jobs for Aerospace and Rocket companies. It takes a team and I’m excited to feel a part of one, from DC to LA, from KPMG to SpaceX, and everything in between… from camping out as a kid to watch the stars to staying up all night to watch the Dragon 2 launch and dock with the ISS.
And I guess that’s how you become an expert in something. I was amazed to find recently that I have friends who have worked at their jobs for 20 years now. I’ve always had smart, top notch friends, but that’s some serious experience, and now, hey, here I am too. Aging is peculiar.
So the Appollo 11 anniversary feels particularly personal this year. Happy birthday moon landing and happy birth to meeee! (Pics of the actual birthday trip to follow… Elephant Seals and San Francisco, Yay)!
UPDATE: My mom dug up a birthday card that my aunt sent me when I was young…