by Chris Tobias
We want to remind Browncoats and space enthusiasts in the Western Pennsylvania area that they are invited to join us for “21-and-Over Rocket Science Night” at the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore tomorrow evening (Friday, January 15) from 6-10pm.
The #SpaceXSerenityCrew will have a table set up at Rocket Science Night, where we’ll be gathering petition signatures asking SpaceX to announce the official name of its first Crew Dragon as Serenity at San Diego Comic-Con this July. We’ll also have form letters, postcards and “Leaf on the Wind” sheets that you can send to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and president Gwynne Shotwell to let them know you think Serenity would be the shiniest name in the ‘verse for their first manned Dragon capsule.
And while we’re there, we’ll be all manner of excited to talk with Rocket Science Night attendees about SpaceX, their recent vertical recovery of a Falcon 9 first-stage booster rocket, their upcoming launch of the Jason-3 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, or any other aspects of Commercial Spaceflight.
So come on out and join us for an evening of fun with rocket science, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #SpaceXSerenityCrew all weekend long on social media, especially during SpaceX’s Jason-3 launch, which you’ll be able to watch live on NASA TV starting at 1:30pm, EST this Sunday, January 17.
We hope to see you tomorrow. Peace, love and rockets…
Happy New Year, ladies and menfolk!
by Chris Tobias
2015 was quite a ride. NASA announced the crew that will fly its Commercial Crew missions, SpaceX bounced back from a resupply mission to the ISS that got a little too “interesting” and successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, and the Crew Dragon was given the green light to break atmo for the first time in 2017. And on the pop culture side of the ‘verse, The Martian made readers and moviegoers want to “science the sh*t” out of things, and a brand new Star Wars film broke both the internet and the box office, which means a whole new generation of young people is now dreaming of one day traveling to a galaxy far, far away.
Almost a year ago to the day, we laid out a plan for how we were going to go for hard-burn in our efforts to convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity. Now that year is behind us, and it’s worth taking a brief look back at the year that was to see what soared like a leaf on the wind… and what fell out of the sky like it had a Capissan 38 engine!
by Chris Tobias
Even though we haven’t quite closed the books on 2015, here at Take Back the Sky we’re already looking ahead to next year. 2016 will be a pivotal year in our efforts to convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity. In fact, with the first launch scheduled for 2017, next year will most likely be the year they name the ship. Needless to say (which, as you well know, means we’re going to say it anyway), it’s now more important than ever that we get our message out to the people of the ‘verse, and one of the best ways to do that is by tabling at events that attract folk who genuinely care about space in general and space exploration in particular, as well as fans of science-fiction, especially Browncoats.
Until now, that’s meant traveling to sci-fi and comics conventions, but we’re pleased to announce that we’ve booked our first table at an event that tends toward the hard science end of what we do. On January 15, 2016 Take Back the Sky will have a table at the “21 and Over Rocket Science Night” at the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh from 6-10pm.
by Chris Tobias
At 4:21am (EST) this Wednesday, fall will officially arrive in this hemisphere. Fall means a lot of things to a lot of people. Students (and teachers) go back to school. Football season (both the American version and the one that fits the rest of the world’s definition) is in high gear again. Our favorite TV shows (at least the ones that weren’t unjustly cancelled) are returning. It’s a time for jeans-and-sweater weather, and of gathering around the fire pit for stories and roasted marshmallows after dark. Halloween will be here before you know it.
In my part of the country, one of the things that makes fall so special is the turning of the leaves. By mid-October, the local landscape will be awash with myriad shades of gold, orange and red that will mix with the green of those few trees that refuse to let go of summer’s standard hue. It’s a gorgeous sight, and one that’s always made me reluctant to relocate from this little patch of the ‘verse in Western Pennsylvania where I was born and raised.
As a Browncoat, it’s impossible for me to talk about leaves without thinking of the motion picture Serenity. Anyone who’s seen the movie (and if you’re reading this on our website, I assume you have) will easily recall Wash’s mantra from the climactic battle between the Reavers and the Alliance, in which Serenity’s pilot deftly maneuvers the transport ship so as evade the ships from both sides that would prefer to see Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew end up as itty bitty shards. Much to the shock and dismay of just about everyone who sees the film for the first time, that same mantra turns out to be the last words of Serenity’s beloved pilot:
Despite the fact that those words are associated with the death of Hoban Washburne, they have nonetheless been embraced by Browncoats everywhere, perhaps because they also speak to the indomitable spirit of the ship and its crew, a trait that fans of Firefly tend to share. They have inspired hundreds of memes and enough fan art to fill Serenity’s cargo bay. And back in 2013, they inspired us to start a unique campaign to help convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon after Joss Whedon’s Serenity.
by Chris Tobias
In less than 48 hours, we’ll debut a brand new panel at Wizard World Pittsburgh Comic Con. The panel, entitled Browncoats in Space: the New Space Age and a Real-Life Spacecraft Named Serenity, will take place this Friday, September 11 at 5pm in Room 304 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
Our previous panel (One Small Step for Fans: Browncoats in Space) focused on how mankind’s fascination with the stars inspired the fantastic ideas of science-fiction, which in turn inspired new generations to explore space. This new panel, however, will focus on recent developments in the world of private spaceflight through NASA’s Commercial Crew Project, with an emphasis on SpaceX’s Dragon V2.
Of course one thing this new panel will have in common with its predecessor is a discussion of the various ways in which Browncoats around the world can help convince SpaceX to name the first of its manned Dragon spacecraft after Joss Whedon’s Serenity. We’ll discuss our letter writing campaign to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and president Gwynne Shotwell, as well as our new online petition asking SpaceX to announce their manned Dragon’s name live at San Diego Comic-Con in July of 2016. With the fall season just a couple weeks away, we’ll also revisit our “Leaf on the Wind” campaign, which encourages Browncoats who may not feel comfortable writing a letter to show their support for the name Serenity simply by mailing a leaf to Elon Musk and/or Gwynne Shotwell at SpaceX.
If time permits, we’ll field questions from the audience as well, and we may even have a prize or two to give away.
So if you’re headed to Wizard World Pittsburgh this Friday, be sure to stop in and listen to our new presentation. As always, we welcome your feedback and appreciate your support.
Peace, love and rockets…
by Chris Tobias
For nearly three years, we’ve had a petition on MoveOn.org calling on SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk to name his company’s first manned spacecraft after Joss Whedon’s Serenity. In that time, the petition amassed a little over 2,200 signatures, a number that was somewhat lower than we had initially hoped to achieve. As you may recall, we already discussed a number of possible reasons for that in our June 17 blog entry about the petition. In the end, however, we decided that perhaps it was time to close the MoveOn.org petition down and send its signatures on their way to SpaceX. On August 30, we did just that.
Before anyone gets the wrong impression, this doesn’t mean we’re giving up on convincing Elon Musk and SpaceX to name their first Dragon V2 Serenity. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We are pleased to announce that we shut the old petition down to make way for a newer petition that is hosted on a newer platform and more accurately reflects what we currently know about the state of SpaceX’s involvement in NASA’s Commercial Crew Project. And what’s more, this new petition raises the stakes in what is likely to be the final year in the development of SpaceX’s manned Dragon– a year that should culminate in the naming of the ship.
Our new online petition, which you can find at Change.org, not only asks Elon Musk and SpaceX to name their first Dragon V2 Serenity, but also calls upon Elon Musk to announce to the world that the ship will indeed have that name in person at next year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, California! Continue Reading
by Chris Tobias
We are pleased to announce that Take Back the Sky will appear at the inaugural Wizard World Pittsburgh Comic Con at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh on Friday, September 11.
Pittsburgh native and Take Back the Sky co-founder Christopher Tobias will present a panel entitled “Browncoats in Space: the New Space Age and a Real-Life Spacecraft Named Serenity” at 5pm in Room 304. At the panel, Chris will discuss some of the exciting new developments in the world of private spaceflight as part of NASA’s current Commercial Crew Project, as well as a plan for how Browncoats the world over can band together to get SpaceX to name their first manned spacecraft after Joss Whedon’s Serenity.
And if Browncoats need any additional incentive to attend, Firefly/Serenity cast members Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb) and Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye) are scheduled to appear at the con that weekend as well.
More information about Wizard World Pittsburgh’s guests and programming is available here.
See you in the Steel City!
by Chris Tobias
It’s hard to believe Jeff and I will be appearing at Dragon Con in less than a week!
In case you haven’t heard (or read our blog entry from July 24), we’ll be participating in a panel called “Fan Support: How Our Faves Survive” on Friday, September 4 at 2:30pm in the Chastain Ballroom (F-G) at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel as part of this year’s Dragon Con. The panel, which is part of Dragon Con’s “Whedon Track,” will be hosted by Anna Puerta, and will also feature Michael Dougherty and Heather Fagan of the Firefly fan film Browncoats: Redemption.
Usually, it’d be easy to tell you what you could expect from one of our panels at a con, but this time it’s not our panel. We’re just guests who represent one aspect of a much larger ‘verse that’s filled with fans of Joss Whedon’s work, all of whom have their own unique ways of celebrating their favorite Whedon stories and characters and making sure they not only don’t fade away, but in some cases that they move forward and even evolve.
by Chris Tobias
Browncoats from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio who attend the 10th annual Can’t Stop the Serenity charity screening of Serenity at the historic Hollywood Theater in Pittsburgh, PA this Saturday will have the opportunity to sign a hard copy of our petition to Elon Musk and SpaceX calling for a manned Dragon spacecraft named after the ship from Joss Whedon’s TV series Firefly and feature film Serenity.
For the third straight year, the Rivers and Bridges Brigade of the PA Browncoats, presenters of CSTS Pittsburgh events, are promoting Take Back the Sky at their CSTS Serenity screening. This year the petition will be located next to the “River’s Mind Readin’ Genius Trivia” game. Attendees who still have not signed our petition will be able to add their name to the over 2,000 signatures of Browncoats from all over the world who have voiced their desire to see a manned US spaceship named Serenity and help us reach our goal of 3,000 signatures by September 1.
Can’t Stop the Serenity organizes worldwide charity screenings and affiliate events to raise money for Equality Now, Joss Whedon’s charity of choice, which fights for women’s rights around the world. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Can’t Stop the Serenity, which has already raised more than $1,000,000 for Equality Now and other charitable causes. Pittsburgh is one of a select few cities that have held CSTS screenings every year since its inception in 2006, and they are also the only city that has actively promoted Take Back the Sky at its CSTS events.
We here at Take Back the Sky thank CSTS Pittsburgh and the PA Browncoats Rivers and Bridges Brigade for their willingness to help promote our cause, and we wish them a very successful event this Saturday. For more information about CSTS Pittsburgh, visit www.cstspgh.webs.com.
by Chris Tobias
We are very pleased to announce that Take Back the Sky will be a part of Dragon Con 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia this September!
We’ll be taking part in a panel entitled “Fan Support: How Our Faves Survive” on Friday, September 4 at 2:30pm in the Chastain Ballroom (F-G) at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. The panel, which will be moderated by Anna Puerta, will focus on the varied and unique ways in which fans have worked to keep the Whedonverse in general, and the Firefly ‘verse in particular, alive and well. Take Back the Sky’s founders will be joined on the panel by Michael Dougherty, writer and director of the 2010 Firefly fan film Browncoats: Redemption, and Heather Fagan, who played the role of Captain Laura Matthews in the film.
Jeff and Chris will talk about what inspired them to create Take Back the Sky, their campaign to sway Elon Musk and SpaceX to name their first manned Dragon v2 spaceship after Serenity, and their plans for taking the campaign to the next level now that SpaceX has unveiled the ship itself and NASA has named the astronauts who will be its crew. Michael and Heather will talk about their experiences during the making of Browncoats: Redemption. Chris and Michael will also discuss their experiences as organizers of Can’t Stop the Serenity events. There will be some time for questions from the audience, and there may even be a surprise or two. (It is Dragon Con, after all.)
We’re honored to be a part of this year’s Dragon Con, its Whedonverse Track and this exciting panel. If you’re attending Dragon Con on September 4, we hope you’ll join us as we talk about some of the ways in which Browncoats are still doing the impossible. We truly enjoy meeting and speaking with all of you in person at various cons all over, and we’re excited to now have the opportunity to meet more of you than ever before.
Of course, you can count on us to bring you updates as Dragon Con approaches. In the meantime, visit the Dragon Con Whedonverse website and Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more information.