Tag Archives: Space

Dear Universe: Thanks, but…

Dear Universe,

1505155658365 (2)
Albuquerque, NM recon trip, Sept 2017.

Thank you for covering my six, but I really needed that job. Yes, I know, it wasn’t a good fit. I did my research. It was a paycheck though, something I could really use to pay my delinquent bills.

I will admit to being confused and hope that there is clarity and a remedy out there for this astro wannabe. I would certainly appreciate some help.

Again, thank you and gobble, gobble.

DD

 

It’s Thanksgiving and I had a good cry this morning, the ugly sobbing kind that sent my youngest cat skittering down the hallway. I’m scared about my current situation. I’m failing at this whole life thing and I’m unsure what to do. I am still completely dumbfounded by Tuesday’s events.

My anxiety level is out to Pluto right now!

After searching for many, many moons, I started a new job on Tuesday morning. It was nothing special, and certainly not astro-related: office staff for a local business in the home building industry. It was income and considering my current financial situation, I was grateful for the opportunity.

Shortly after I arrived on site, the owner greeted me at the front desk and led me to accounting. The manager handed me paperwork to sign and then took me on a tour of the offices, introducing staff along the way. So far, so good.

Next came a tour of the warehouse with the owner explaining logistics and products. When we returned to the offices, he had me begin training on the ordering system. I was glad to be sitting with one person. My senses were on overload after meeting so many people, but I still felt good about everything, all in all.

I had been on the job for about an hour and a half when the owner came to me and said, “We’d like to see you in the conference room.” I followed him in where his wife, who worked there part-time, and the accounting manager were seated at the table.

The owner closed the door, turned to me and said, “We don’t have to give a reason, but this is not going to work. This is not a good fit for us.” BLAM! My anxiety went interstellar. He said some more about payment for the day and something else, I’m sure, but my head had exploded by then and I didn’t have full use of my ears, let alone any mental processing capacity.

I was a doe! I felt it, I saw it, I was it. Tunnel vision. Move legs. Get out of there.

I remember grabbing my coat, though I didn’t become fully conscious again until I was in my car. I took a few deep breaths to calm the throbbing pulse in my throat. What just happened? My brain was still a battlefield. All I could do was shake my head in disbelief and drive away.

But I really needed that job!

The last couple of days have been very ugly and, hence, the need for the ugly cry. But now, back to the real world. And what am I going to do?

The only vision I have for my life is my work here at WomanAstro.com. It’s never been about money, but it needs to be. That means I am going to step outside my box and ask for your help.

So, what am I going to do? Over the next few days I will set up sponsorships on this website and you can help. Please get in touch with me to talk about opportunities for you and/or your organization.

There are other ideas that have churned inside my head for far too long and deserve to see the world. I’m asking for your help to make them happen.

In the meantime, please visit this site often. Tell your friends and family, your neighbors and colleagues.

Thank you and wishing you the very best this holiday season.

DD

 

Space Needs Women

Debra Davis standing in front of Boeings X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on display at the 27th National Space Symposium.

This week the 27th National Space Symposium, sponsored by the Space Foundation and held at the luxurious Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs from April 11-14, gathered industry leaders from across the globe to meet and “explore the most important – and timely – issues confronting [the space] industry” and the future of space exploration. After following the first two days of the conference on Twitter (#NSS27), on Wednesday I decided to drive the 77.3 miles south to do some exploring of my own.

Upon arrival in the early afternoon, registration was the first order of business since no admittance was allowed without a badge. With my media credentials proudly draped around my neck, I marched to the exhibit hall to begin my exploration.

Stepping into the Boeing Exhibit Center North, seeing 70 exhibitors of everything space related, sent me spiraling into the biggest space-rush of my life. All the major players were there: NASA, NOAA, ATK, Ball Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne, Raytheon, SpaceX, and many, many more. The flashy exhibits showcased shiny corporate logos surrounded by images of all manner of spacecraft amid the backdrop of space.

OMG! Astro-awesome! OMG! Squee! Squee! OMG! OMG! OMG! There’s really no better way to describe what lay before me. I took a deep breath and walked down the first aisle.

I stopped by any booth in the large exhibit hall where a woman was standing. (You know my agenda. It’s what I do and with whom I wish to speak.) I had a lovely conversation with the communications director of a firm that designs and manufactures aircraft engines and space propulsion systems. She told me of the role her organization has had in “manned” spaceflight. I leaned in and suggested to her that she should say “human” spaceflight. We chatted a while longer and at the end of our conversation she acknowledged that she should be better at saying human spaceflight. That one comment made me feel that my trip was worth the gas, and I’m sure she will follow through.

My favorite exhibit was the 1/3 scale model of a space habitat from Bigelow Aerospace. One reporter tweeted, “The girl in me thought it was basically the coolest dollhouse EVER.” I have to agree. The thought that this model represents housing for future spacefarers made my skin tingle. We live in exciting times and the commercial space industry promises an exciting future.

That future is not without its challenges. Several people I spoke with are concerned with what is perceived as a current lack of direction and purpose within NASA, their largest client. Many are concerned by the final two Space Shuttle missions looming on the horizon and no clear plans for future multi-purpose crew vehicles or space launch systems. I got the sense that many are asking in their corporate board rooms, “What’s next?” As an outsider, I look forward to seeing what that “next” is.

The general crowds at the conference were mostly men, as were the hosts behind the exhibit booths. The commercial space industry needs more women as is simplistically evidenced by the gender disparity in speakers at the 27th NSS.

Featured speakers – 15 total, 2 women or 13.33%
Symposium speakers – 53 total, 13 women or 24.53%
Total speakers – 68 total, 15 women or 22.06%

Space exploration is a human endeavor. I have concerns that the commercial space industry will, though unintentional, leave women behind or, even worse, that women won’t even consider a career in this exciting and out-of-this-world industry.

So, my mission to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields continues, especially anything related to space. Space is fun and getting a solid education in STEM subjects may get you a career in the commercial space industry. Study on! And I hope to see you at the 28th National Space Symposium.