Thursday, November 24, 2016

My First 100 Days in Office at ERAU

Since joining the +Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) August 16th, a lot has happened in our lives. We have seen two more launches, but because of my high paced new role as an Assistant Professor of Commercial Space Operations and raising our toddler (Rafael, aka Rafi), my blog will be pushed to the occasional update. We survived our first Hurricane (thanks Matthew) and another Presidential election (personal opinions suppressed), which brings us to this post, my First 100 Days in Office. New President's are judge by what they promise and then accomplish in their first 100 days in office and with USA Thanksgiving, it is a good time to think back and reflect on what I have done so far and a bit about upcoming plans.

Spacesuit Up!

As the newest member of the CSO program, I am preparing to take over management of the Spacesuit Operations Lab in January, which I have tentatively renamed, mostly to avoid dooming acronyms in the space industry, the Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (SUIT Lab). The SUIT Lab will focus on experiential learning for students and research initiatives with industry. Stay tuned for updates in 2017!
Donated U2 "Dragon Lady" high altitude pressure suit (David Clark Company designed). We are hanging out in the Suborbital Spaceflight Simulator (SSFS).

Setting a New Course to the Stars

Before even starting at ERAU, I heard about their study abroad program via Applied Aviation Sciences (AAS) department updates, specifically the one that went to Greece and offered courses while living on a sailboat. Sailboat? Greece? Summer away from Florida? What do I do to get involved!? Passion and interest gravitates us towards opportunities. Hard work and focus helps us realize our goals. Working with the Office of Global Engagement I found that there was an opportunity for a new professor to join to the Summer A program. Combining my passions for spacesuits, analogue research, and sailing led me to start designing a new course in Commercial Space Operations (CSO) focused on spacesuits. The parallels between space exploration and early sailors discovering new lands is well documented throughout history, and the commonality between spacesuits and scuba dates back to the early days of high performance aviation and the dawning of the space era. Want to know more? Take my class ;-) I'm looking forward to the stars, the wind, and the bubbles. Here's the course description I developed for “CSO 375: Spacesuits & Human Spaceflight Operations”.
As part of the Summer A, Antikythera Mechanism program, this course introduces students to human spaceflight topics including spacesuit history, design, human factors considerations, space life support systems, as well as intravehicular and extravehicular operations. This unique Summer A offering will take advantage of the clear water visibility in the Mediterranean Sea with practical demonstrations underwater of space operations. The history of space exploration will be linked to ancient navigation and technology while sailing around Greece and unlocking the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism.
Summer A + Greece + Sailboat = #SpacesuitUp! Now that's math many of can prove = awesome! This was the flyer I designed for the program info session. It was well attended and interest is high for the class.

That's One Small Grant for a Man

I was awarded an internal grant for course development at ERAU, specifically for my summer course. It is a "Challenges in Teaching and Learning Grant" from the ERAU Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE). Hopefully this is the first of many as I help the SUIT Lab become operational. I do have SUIT Lab grants submitted, so I am in the beginnings of my proposal generating role. Relating to stepping, Rafi has his first steps on campus during my faculty orientation weeks right in front of our Department Chair. Nicely done buddy!
Rafi's 1st steps on August 24th!

Hola Mexico!

Once again Rafi was the main attraction at the +International Astronautical Federation's 2016 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico! My main role this past IAC for my two IAF committees was the "Director" of the Next-Generation Plenary: Innovative Solutions for Making Space Accessible and Affordable.
Our Yuri's Night Interactive Presentation about the 16 year history. A very cool opportunity and busy event. We finished in the Top 3 in the E Session (Space & Society) out of 51 final submissions of 99 abstracts. There were a total of 205 presentations across all sessions from 409 accepted abstracts.  
Behind the curtain at the Next-Gen Plenary. I was running the PPT slides and coordinating the sound and lights. We had three rehearsals leading into the plenary and many meetings before the conference. It was a lot of coordination around the world, but worth the effort!

My First Art Show

Rafi explains my photo art to attendees of the Chancellor's Art exhibit. I titled this photo "Discovering New Worlds by Discovering Our Own Planet". The day before our wedding we hiked to a scenic vantage point of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. This is my favorite location in one of my favorite spots on Earth. Our love for the outdoors and Yellowstone is why we brought family and friends together for our wedding here, helping them discover more of our planet.

Back in the Publication Circuit

With four abstracts submitted to the 2017 International Conference on Environmental Systems (, one as primary author, I should have the much needed kick in the pants to get my publications back on track. I have been fortunate to keep busy with the +Yuri's Night team on educational and space social papers, but it is time to re-enter the peer reviewed world and then back into publications. It is all part of this crazy ride along the tenure-track. Choo! Choo!

Conference Chair Match Main Event: IAF vs. AIAA

The subtitle may be misleading thinking there is an issue with IAF or AIAA. It's quite the opposite. I've been asked to Chair the Forum 360 at AIAA SPACE 2017 in Orlando. I am looking forward to this opportunity to work with AIAA as more than just a Sr. Member on a Technical Committee. Additionally, I've volunteered to take on the "Director" role again for the IAF for the 2017 Next Generation Plenary (if the proposal is accepted).

Awesome PoSSUM

The AAS Department has selected me to be the next ERAU representative in the +Project PoSSUM training course during April (ending on Yuri's Night). The class number is 1701, which was pointed out to me that it has Star Trek significance, to which I replied "May the Force be with you".
My head is ready to be filled with space. Wait... that's not right. Spacesuit Up! BTW Same shirt, but different day from the above photo!

Here's to the next 100 days, years, generations!


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