After an end-of-the-day symposium I ran into a former classmate who was returning to school to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Offhand, he mentioned that he (and his friend) had just finished a presentation on shifting to a smaller satellite form factor (CubeSats) and launching more of them to span the atmosphere, providing a cheaper, more resilient alternative to things like the current GPS architecture (31 satellites) or imaging satellites (sometimes only one).
To which I mentioned that I had actually been reading a book about building your own Satellite Launch Platform and that, while expensive, it’s theoretically possible for a private citizen to accomplish (costs estimated to be anywhere from $8-12k for construction to $25-50k for launch.
This idea that anybody short of Elon Musk could afford to scrape up against the thermosphere apparently put some people’s noses out of joint. So being the compassionate individuals, with their little corner of academia threatened, they did the only thing “real” academics do well… the lashed out at me.
Keep in mind this was a professional environment, there were people there I was hoping to make a good impression on and one of which was approximately 3 feet away when the friend was called over and much mocking and jeering was had at my expense.
So yeah. That’s a good feeling for a (semi) professional setting.
But the more I read about it, the less crazy things seem. Weather balloon launch platforms, NASA running CubeSat payload launches through academic institutions (both at the high school and college level), and so on.
So yeah. It’s all well and good that you’ve got some esoteric knowledge about flinging things off the Earth, but I’m not sure how much of a career you’re going to have if you don’t consider innovative ideas, regardless of how strange they might be.