A couple of months ago AbbyShot, makers of fine clothing for many popular geek franchises, announced it was seeking Browncoats who would be interested in writing Firefly-related articles for their blog. One of the Browncoats who answered the call was Take Back the Sky co-founder Christopher Tobias, who is now moonlighting as a blogger over at abbyshot.com.
When Chris was asked to submit ideas for articles for the blog, it’s no surprise the first thing that came to mind was an overview of Take Back the Sky and its six-year campaign. The end result of that inspiration is now the latest entry on AbbyShot’s blog. It’s the first of many articles that Chris plans to write for them.
We’d like to thank AbbyShot for boosting our signal, and for giving one of our founding members another outlet with which he can express his love of all things Firefly and Serenity.
And when you head over to abbyshot.com to check out Chris’ blog post, be sure to take a look at the Firefly and Serenity merchandise they have for sale. They offer a very accurate replica of Malcolm Reynolds’ belt and holster rig, as well as a replica of his suspenders and replicas of his iconic browncoats from both the TV series and the motion picture. (If you’ve ever seen Chris’ Mal Reynolds costume at a con or a Can’t Stop the Serenity screening, then you’ve probably seen him modeling the AbbyShot suspenders and the Serenity variant of their browncoat.) If you’re looking for a holiday gift for that special Browncoat on your list, you aren’t likely to find finer Firefly or Serenity apparel anywhere in the ‘verse. We’re sure you’ll agree it’s very shiny.
Peace, love and rockets…
Hey, everybody. It’s Chris Tobias, co-founder of Take Back the Sky. I usually don’t post on our blog under my own name, but I feel the need to take personal responsibility for this one, and by that I mean both for what I’m about to say and for the social media post that gave me reason to say it.
On November 25, I tweeted an article by the Smithsonian on Take Back the Sky‘s Twitter feed about Mike Hughes, a self-taught rocket scientist who designed and built his own rocket, which he planned to launch this weekend with himself as a pilot. My comment on the tweet was: “This is the #Browncoats spirit!” You can still see the original tweet on Take Back the Sky‘s Twitter feed. It has not been deleted, and we have no plans to do so.
That in and of itself is relatively innocuous, but that’s not the whole story, of course. You see, Mr. Hughes was going to all this trouble because he was hoping that it would help to prove his belief that the Earth is flat! The article also stated that afterwards he planned to run for governor, which is somewhat eccentric, to say the least. I thought it was obvious that my admiration was solely for his gumption in designing, building, launching and piloting his own rocket. I should have known better.
This morning I got an e-mail from Take Back the Sky‘s other co-founder, Jeff Cunningham. He wanted to know if the tweet got the same amount of attention on Twitter that the cross-post had generated on our Facebook page (it hadn’t). According to Jeff, my posting of this one article had generated more discussion and comments than 99% of the other things we’ve ever posted to our Facebook page, and most of it wasn’t very positive. When I tweeted “This is the #Browncoats spirit!” I was referring to the fact that Mike Hughes was willing to do something against seemingly impossible odds because he believed strongly in a cause, even if the majority didn’t agree with him. But when I looked at the comments on Facebook, it was obvious that people were focusing on the fact that he believed in a flat Earth and was not a proponent of science, even though he was obviously making use of science in order to accomplish what he had set out to do.
In his e-mail Jeff made it clear that he did not see how Mike Hughes’ flight, or the Smithsonian‘s coverage of it, advanced an anti-science agenda. The Smithsonian is the last institution that either of us would accuse of that, and Jeff and I agreed that should be quite evident in the tone of their article. While I was relieved that he understood the motivation behind my posting it, he was obviously concerned that now some of our followers might actually believe that we were anti-science (despite over six years of statements to the contrary on this site, as well as Facebook and Twitter) just because we praised this man’s actions, even if we were viewing them independent (no pun intended) of his motivations. So I decided to take a closer look at the comments, and was very disappointed by what I saw.
If you thought SpaceX’s launch of the X-37B was the stuff of conspiracy theorists’ dreams, consider the upcoming launch from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday, November 15.
The mission, dubbed “Falcon 9 Zuma,” has a projected liftoff time of 8:00pm EST and a launch window that stretches from 8:00pm to 10:00pm EST. Following the launch, the Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt a landing at Landing Zone 1 (LZ1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
That’s it. That’s all we know. No other information about the launch, the payload or the overall mission is available. The rocket might as well have “TOP SECRET” painted on its side.
If there’s one thing SpaceX has become very good at, it’s making history. And in just a couple of hours, they’ll do it again.
Elon Musk and company will launch their tenth resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral this morning at 10:01 am, EST. A Falcon 9 will break atmo with a Dragon capsule that’s ISS bound, and shortly thereafter, if all goes according to plan, SpaceX will once again land the first stage of the rocket– this time at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral. The Dragon will then rendezvous with the International Space Station on February 20.
It’s not the cargo of this 10th of 14 planned resupply missions to the ISS that’s particularly historic, nor is it SpaceX’s recovery of the Falcon’s first stage– something that the world used to watch for in anticipation during launches but is now practically taking for granted (a real credit to SpaceX). What makes this launch so special is where it’s taking place.
SpaceX will send CRS-10 into the black from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. This particular launch site last saw action in 2011, during the waning days of the Space Shuttle program. Prior to that, though, it was the site from which America went to the Moon. In fact, every manned Apollo flight except for one (Apollo 10) was launched from LC-39A, and the Skylab space station was sent into orbit from there as well. In 1981, LC-39A ushered in a new era of American spaceflight with the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, and the pad supported the shuttle program all the way through the final shuttle mission of Atlantis in 2011.
SpaceX is now leasing LC-39A from NASA, and this morning it will once again be the site from which we witness the next step in American spaceflight. This time around the future takes the shape of a privately-built, privately-owned rocket that will be carrying a privately built, privately-owned space capsule into the black in support of a space station that is internationally manned and operated by the joint efforts of several of the world’s government space agencies, after which that same rocket will return to Earth to land and be reused for future missions. And as if that’s not enough, within the year SpaceX may be ready use LC-39A to launch American astronauts into space in a manned version of that very same capsule. (If you agree with us that that first Crew Dragon should be named Serenity, be sure to write to SpaceX and let them know.) If a launch complex could talk, we bet LC-39A would find it appropriate to quote Firefly’s Malcolm Reynolds:
“I’m thinking we’ll rise again.”
You can watch SpaceX’s historic launch online this morning on NASA TV starting at 8:30am. SpaceX’s coverage of the launch should begin around 9:30am at spacex.com. Should the launch be postponed for any reason, the backup launch window is Sunday, February 19 at 9:38 am EST. Here’s to history.
Peace, love and rockets…
Over the holiday, actor Ron Glass passed away at the age of 71. He’s well-known among Browncoats and geeks as Shepherd Derrial Book from Firefly and Serenity, and a long career in television stretching from Barney Miller to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Those who were fortunate enough to work with him and to know him, however, knew him for his contagious laugh and uncommon kindness. I was fortunate enough to meet the man at a small Orlando comic and fandom convention about ten years ago. It was my first time at a con of any kind, much less approaching anyone for an autograph. Mr. Glass immediately made my companions and I feel right at home, and treated everyone like they were his own grandkids. As best as I or anyone can recall, no one has ever heard or known him to have said a cross, unkind or critical word to anyone, deserving or no.
It’s these kinds of people, it seems, that we miss the most when they pass on, gentle souls who soften the tone in any room, and remind us of times in our lives when we were all a little better-behaved, and make us wonder if maybe we shouldn’t follow their example. Indeed, one of his most famous roles was that of a sort of pseudo-Christian minister, providing spiritual guidance– and, at times, gentle reproof– to fellow travelers aboard Serenity, and serving as the voice of compassion and faith in the show’s narrative.
Now, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Ron Glass and Derrial Book were two separate, different individuals. At the same time, however, the character of Book was heavily influenced by Glass’ own Buddhist faith and outlook on spirituality. As a practicing Christian, in fact, I feel no hesitation in saying that he taught me a deep, profound truth about belief– one that everyone, believer or not, stands to benefit greatly from. At Mr. Glass’ passing, I felt it would be appropriate to say a few words about that lesson, because I feel that following someone’s example and remembering the lessons they taught us is the best way we can honor them after they leave us. Continue Reading
If your corner of the ‘verse is in or around the Pittsburgh area, then we have the perfect way for you to kick off your weekend!
Take Back the Sky will be at Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore this Friday, April 15 from 6-10pm for their annual “21-and-over Sci-Fi Night.” We’ll have a table at the event where Browncoats as well as devotees of other science-fiction fandoms can sign a petition to SpaceX and/or write letters to SpaceX founder/CEO Elon Musk and president Gwynne Shotwell, asking them to name their first manned Dragon after Serenity.