Now the real work begins

Astronaut Abby FlyingFor the last few years I’ve been blogging every now and then when something exciting happens in the world of space exploration or in my own life. I hang out on Twitter, learn a ton of stuff, and then share a lot of that over on Facebook, too. That’s all been easy and hasn’t taken up much time. But things are different now! My #SoyuzAdventure has brought on a whole new range of responsibilities, and, as Heather Brown from WCCO News put it in her report Monday, “Don’t think this is going to be a two week vacation for Abby to Kazakhstan. While she’s there she will be writing, tweeting, blogging, taking videos and pictures. And then in the six months when she gets back she will be doing Skype visits, classroom visits and writing for national science magazines.”

I am now going to be working – and working hard! But it’s a labor of love.

How my #SoyuzAdventure STEM Outreach Campaign Started

Mission Volare Patch

It all started long before I announced this campaign. I knew about the possibility of the trip right before Christmas when my mentor, Astronaut Luca Parmitano emailed and told me he may have a late Christmas present for me. Then, on January 16, I got the official invite (which I can’t wait to share with you in a future blog post). As soon as the invite came, the plans for this campaign started to lift off.

I knew I would need help funding the trip and I also knew that I wanted to share my experience with others as much as I could – how could I not with a trip this significant?! Our first goal was to find a way to do web chats with classrooms, and that initial idea evolved into the current plan:

  • I will be sharing my adventure on I my blog starting now through the launch and beyond. Young people (and adults!) will learn what it’s really like to prepare for travel around the world, to witness a launch of a Soyuz space ship, and experience a visit to both urban and remote areas of Russia.
  • I will  prepare for and lead a series of Skype classroom chats with students and teachers across the Globe. These chats will be a chance for me to share this experience and answer questions with kids everywhere. I will include in-person presentations to a half dozen classrooms and/or school assemblies. Maybe we can do more, I hope so!
  • I will be serving as a freelance journalist documenting the experience for a national science magazine/journal or blog and also write for youth-audience STEM magazines.
  • I will be presenting at several space conferences. I will share this experience as well as continue to ignite people who are excited about exploring space.

Working Hard to Make an Impact

So now my job is to be a full-time student, attend gymnastics practice 15 hours per week, and serve as a reporter to you and all the people who have signed up to receive my blog posts! I have promised to share the entire adventure – from preparations to going to Russia to the actual launch and finally, with post-launch reflections. I will be writing updates about travel plans, preparation such as packing, and so many other cool things that are bound to come up.

astronaut abby with scientists

Fueling the Adventure and STEM Outreach

While I write these posts I am also running my RocketHub Campaign to build a crew to help send me to Russia and to fuel the outreach I will be doing after. So many people have already been generous in buying their share of the fuel, helping my campaign to successfully “lift off.” Hopefully as you follow my journey here you will decide to join us and become an official #SoyuzAdventure crew member, which will get you insider access to my journey! Starting with special emails and working up to a Google+ Hangout with me in Russia or a visit to your kid’s classroom, it’s up to you check out my campaign and pick the level you want to fund – then you’re officially in!

Thank you for joining me on this adventure of a lifetime! Please sign up for my email list to get updates so you don’t miss a thing!

Luca Parmitano Volare Mission Patch Designed by Ilaria Sardella, 28, from Taranto, Italy – Image Credit: ESA/ASI/I. Sardella


  1. Sarai Pahla says

    Hey Abby – I know it will be a lot of hard work, but you’re totally going to get through this. I’d like to remind you that even though you will have a lot of responsibility, make sure you take some time out to have some down time and reflect on what an amazing time you’re having (even if that’s 15 minutes at the end of every day). I’m going to be following your journey with excitement! What an amazing opportunity – and how awesome of Luca!
    I’m currently doing far too much work and studying myself (I want to get another couple of degrees before I apply as an astronaut and have to work on my fitness BIG time – good on you for keeping that up) so I barely even have time to keep up with space news, even though I know this crazy phase will be over in a few month when the actual University studying starts. I have written down a whole bunch of motivational points on why I want to travel to space and read them every morning. Do you have something like that? Could you share that in a blog post – i.e. how do you stay motivated to stick to such a long term goal? That would be a very inspirational post.
    Cheers (and sorry, I didn’t realise this would turn into an essay!!)

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