“A real spaceship named Serenity is a really shiny idea! What can I do to help?”
The absolute best thing you can do, above all else, is to write and mail a letter to SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell at the following address:
Space Exploration Technologies Attn: Gwynne Shotwell 1 Rocket Road Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA
It doesn’t matter how long or short it is, just as long as it’s a physical letter that makes it to her desk (as opposed to an email). If you’re at a loss for words to say to her, download our form letter for ideas or just use this brief outline:
- Tell her in a sentence or two why you think private spaceflight and what SpaceX is doing are shiny, and congratulate her and SpaceX on being awarded a Commercial Crew contract by NASA and being the first private company to send astronauts into space.
- Say in a sentence or two why Firefly is awesome. (It’s hard to limit yourself to just a couple sentences, we know.)
- Write one or two reasons why you think Serenity would be a great name for a Crew Dragon, the world’s first private, crewed spaceship. If all you can come up with is, “Because it’d be really cool,” that’s just fine.
Of course, the real beauty of a handwritten letter is that you can write and send as many as you like, because unlike a petition, the more letters you send, the more impact your words will have. In the end, what matters most is not quality, but quantity. We need a lot of these letters on her desk, and all she needs to see is that each came from a human being, not a computer.
After you’ve written a letter, there’s still more you can do…
Letters aren’t the only thing that will send a strong message when they’re dumped out of a mail sack onto Gwynne Shotwell’s desk.
We’ve all heard the stories of various fan groups that have campaigned to save their favorite TV shows by sending things like Tabasco sauce (Roswell), lipstick (La Femme Nikita) and even socks (Reaper) to the offices of studio executives in order to convince them not to follow through with their initial plans for cancellation. Perhaps the most impressive of these campaigns was organized by fans of the show Jericho, who managed to get a second season after sending crates full of nuts to the producers, in reference to Jake Green’s reply of “Nuts!” to the New Bern attackers’ demands for surrender.
Since those fans were successful, we have every reason to believe we can achieve success with a similar campaign based on Wash’s iconic line from the movie Serenity:
“I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar!”
So once you’ve sent your letter(s), we suggest you pick out a healthy, colorful leaf from your backyard or a local park (or cut one out of colorful construction paper) and mail it to Gwynne Shotwell with a short note letting her know you support a manned Dragon named Serenity. (For more on this idea, check out our blog post from September 2, 2013.) Think about it: next to a handwritten letter, there is probably nothing that would be more effective in convincing her to name a Crew Dragon Serenity than a pile of leaves in her office that’s so big, she can jump into it!
In fact we know this has an impact, because we’ve already received feedback at cons from people who told us they’ve actually gotten replies from SpaceX after sending leaves, and that those replies mentioned the fact that “they’ve been getting a lot of them.” This is a very encouraging sign that the leaves are making an impression, so keep up the good work!
Then, after you’ve written a letter (or a few letters), sent a leaf or two, join the cause and start your own little uprising by recruiting a friend or two to encourage others in person to write letters and sign the petition– say, at local comic shops and events like comic-cons. Download our tabling toolkit and other resources available here, then start misbehaving!
- Write similar letters or emails to NASA’s Public Relations office, as well as their Commercial and Crew Services, to let them know that Serenity is a name that the public will fully stand behind and support.
- Now that the Commercial Crew astronauts have been named, write the astronauts who’ll fly the Crew Dragon spacecraft themselves! After all, it was astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken who ultimately named the first Crew Dragon Endeavour. The common mailing address for all letters to NASA astronauts is:
NASA/Johnson Space Center CB/Astronaut Office Houston, TX 77058 USA
You can also Tweet each of them directly at their accounts listed below.
- Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word to like-minded Browncoats or space enthusiasts that you know.
- Start conversations in space-related media channels, such as space.com, spaceflightnow.com, nasaspaceflight.com, Space News, The Space Review, and more.
- Attend any one of a number of space science and/or space advocacy conventions across the globe or near where you are. These are a great way to interact with truly visionary people and be exposed to great ideas for our future in the ‘verse– there’s also always a good chance that you’ll get to meet an astronaut or two. We’ll post notices now and then as these events come up, so continue to check back to our site often.
When a spaceship is finally named Serenity, our job still won’t be finished. It will then fall on us to make good on our word and support the hard-working people of NASA, SpaceX and others involved in the Commercial Crew Program by being there in person on launch day. A large turnout of Browncoats and people who are just passionate about space will send a powerful message that the people still support the manned exploration and colonization of deep space. And besides, it’ll be a mighty fine shindig!
We look forward to seeing you there and celebrating with you on launch day…
“I aim to misbehave.” — Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity