SpaceUp Europe auto sequence start

With about 7 weeks to go until launch, we are happy to see that all systems are go and we have engaged the automatic start sequence. Well, entirely automatic it is not… It requires a bit additional work and learnings on the way to organize a SpaceUp event in another part of the world. Venue and date are set, ticket sales have started (could need a little boost though) and the website is being completed with travel and lodging details. We are also founding the SpaceUp Europe Foundation, enabling our sponsors to get tax deductions on their support.

Please keep an eye out to more news on this website soon!

Send SpaceUp to SXSW

We need your help!

SpaceUp organizers Mike Doornbos, Dennis Bonilla, Chris RadcliffTim Bailey (also of Yuri’s Night), and Jen Scheer (also of the Space Tweep Society) are teaming up with astronaut Ron Garan to show the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference what an awesome group of space enthusiasts can do when united by social media.

The proposed panel is called How to Win Friends and Influence Space Exploration. As the description says:

Learn why these people got so passionately involved in space, how they became good friends over the Internet, and what they’ve created to make measurable change toward a more awesome tomorrow.

SXSW judges will ultimately decide whether to include our panel, but you can help by voting for us or adding your comment to the panel picker page.

What SpaceUp is All About

CraftLass summed up the importance of SpaceUp (and other BarCamps) quite well today:

Modern society is very disjointed. We like to divvy everyone up into little groups and then slice those groups up even smaller, building walls between each time. Companies keep the left-brainers away from the right-brainers who are kept away from the executives and the underlings. This is bad, very bad. The best ideas happen when people who seem to have little in common work together as a real team, even if there are serious disagreements along the way. Actually, especially if there are disagreements – those are needed to kill the inevitable bad ideas that crop up and spark a new direction of thinking. Compartmentalization is bad for everyone and everything, at least, in my opinion, and it’s time to break free of this modus operandi.

This is why SpaceUp is my favorite event. It’s living, breathing proof that people CAN communicate across all the artificial boundaries we put up and find ourselves subject to. Even better, the way a lot of that happens is through actual fun! We have fun debating serious topics, we have fun sharing stories and getting to know each other, and then there’s the actual Fun Time built into the schedule.

Be sure to read more about her upcoming trip to SpaceUp Houston in her post, “Wake Up to SpaceUp“.

SpaceUp San Diego: The Sequel

Good news, everyone!

What: SpaceUp San Diego
When: February 12th and 13th, 2011
Where: The Loft at UC San Diego
Registration is open now

(If you’re new to SpaceUp, read how it works or get an overview from a writeup of SpaceUp DC.)

For our second annual event, the San Diego Space Society is working with the UCSD Astrophysics Club to host the event at The Loft at UC San Diego. The Loft is a comfy venue that benefits from UCSD’s amazing network bandwidth, plus it features a full service café (Zanzibar!) just steps away from Pod One.

The famous five-minute lightning talks will be back again this year, renamed T minus 5 to avoid any Imperial entanglements. Register to get details on giving your presentation. Don’t worry if you’re shy; there are plenty of ways to participate.

Kids have their own activities this year, so children are FREE with a parent registration.

The attendee list already has some exciting names listed, and we expect to see more of the area’s scientists, engineers, educators, students, and rocket nerds sign up soon. Make sure you’re one of them by registering today.

To learn more, visit the SpaceUp San Diego site, follow it on Facebook or Twitter, or email questions to info@spaceup.org. We hope to see you there!

Houston: Register Soon to Get a T-shirt

If you haven’t yet registered for SpaceUp Houston, they just gave you a great reason to do so now:

Early Bird Registration will close on January 19th, 2011 and all early birds will receive a special Space Up T-shirt with the following logo designed specifically for Houston!  So, don’t miss out and register today.

Early-bird pricing is just $25, so that’s like buying the t-shirt and getting an awesome 2-day unconference (with a special session by astronaut Clay Anderson) for free!

[Author's note: Even though I'll be stuck in San Diego that weekend, I registered to get the awesome t-shirt. If you can't get to Houston yourself, you can still register and take part live via Spacevidcast.]

SpaceUp DC Coverage in NASA’s Ask the Academy

SpaceUp DC participant Haley Stephenson wrote about the unconference for NASA’s Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL) newsletter, Ask the Academy. In her Aerospace Unbrief, Stephenson captures the essence of how SpaceUp works:

No agenda. No keynote speakers. No audience members in rows of uncomfortable chairs fidgeting through serial PowerPoint presentations.

[...] SpaceUp breaks the typical conference paradigm of mediocre food, large registration fees, and rigid lecture schedules. It engages and motivates all attendees to participate because they want to, not because they have to.

I had never been to an unconference. Quite frankly, the concept made me uncomfortable. But as I discovered, that’s the point.

More importantly, she portrays the sense of fun that we’ve seen at SpaceUps so far:

We fiddled with pipe cleaners (out of which one person constructed the space-time continuum), built spaceships and rovers out of Legos (our “green” ship was powered by Lego conifers), conducted a MoonPie eating contest (beware the banana flavor), and held what is probably the first Tribble war ever (they’re not as soft as they look). If this all seems quite silly, then take a moment to think on what sparked your interest in space and what fuels it now.

…space exploration is fueled by the imagination and enthusiasm of both fifty-year-old engineers and eleven-year-old kids like Caleb Doornbos, whose disarming intelligence and freedom from limitations made us all walk away asking, “Why not?” Why not inspire the next generation about space? Why not go to Mars and back in 80 days or less? Why not launch your own satellite? Why not?

Yeah, why not?

SpaceUp DC is ON.

You probably came here because you heard about SpaceUp DC first, but if you haven’t, here are a few highlights so far:

explaining the session grid

The webcasting provided by Spacevidcast has been fantastic. The morning started with an audio glitch and a few bandwidth hiccups, but the rest of the day had three rock-solid simultaneous streams (one from each active session room) with clear audio. Better yet, the full archived sessions showed up on Youtube within a few hours!

The conversation on Twitter has been awesome, too. (Search for the #SpaceUpDC tag on Twitter to get a taste.) The live SVC feeds helped here; people who aren’t on-site have been able to report on SpaceUp sessions as though they were there. The conversation bounces back and forth between on-site attendees, remote attendees, and other followers on Twitter, as in this exchange between me, NASA, and Dennis Bonilla.

Of course, it isn’t all roses and rainbows; I haven’t seen a single Moonpie yet. Still, there’s a whole second day, so I’ll just have to keep watching.