The Very First Shoot - #SpaceNation

That’s a wrap!  The very first shoot has been completed.  One site down, many more to go. It has been a whirlwind of a weekend filled with early mornings, lots of Starbucks, long drives, fact-checking my lines, memorizing those lines and getting comfortable in front of a camera!  I was certainly anxious to get the first few days under my belt, as you are with any new job.  But now that it’s completed, I’m pretty sure this will be the most fun job I ever have.

This first shoot took place at my incredible Alma Mater, West Virginia University.  The WVU balloon satellite engineering team invited us to their high altitude balloon launch.  A high altitude balloon is a large balloon filled with helium or hydrogen designed to take a payload up into the upper atmosphere. This particular balloon was designed to pop once it rose above 90,000 feet (about 3 times the altitude you are at in a commercial plane). Throughout the process, the team is tracking and chasing the balloon so they can retrieve their payload once it hits the ground.

The process is typically:

  1. Fill the balloon with helium, tie the payloads to it, and let it go
  2. The balloon travels across the sky while rising to 90,000 feet
  3. The balloon pops, sending its payload back down to the Earth. 

We came to the launch with myself, my producer, and 2 cameramen.  I had memorized a few lines to say once we got to the location, but many things you will hear me say on camera are decided on as we go.  We also recruited a few members from the WVU team to explain their experiment throughout the process!

With my awesome producer and one of the videographers in the WVU Aerospace Engineering Lab.

With my awesome producer and one of the videographers in the WVU Aerospace Engineering Lab.

The launch did not go entirely as planned, but after all was said and done, it ended up being a huge success!  The process began at 5:30am and didn’t end until 6:30pm.  Definitely a very long, but exciting day! And luckily I was able to bring along a couple groupies to my shoot, which made the entire day much easier and fun…

But first, let me take a selfie, with my totally awesome groupies

But first, let me take a selfie, with my totally awesome groupies

As it turns out, I am a big cheeseball on camera – and it comes completely naturally (fortunately or unfortunately?).  So if I seem way too excited about science when you see me explaining things, it’s probably because I am.  And my sign off, which I came up with on my own, without any extra cheese added from the production team, is “Until next time, I’m Emily Calandrelli.  Keep exploring space nation!” I hate how much I love it. 


More importantly, can we make #SpaceNation happen?

Piggy backing off this sign off/catch phrase - I’m trying really hard to make the hashtag #SpaceNation work.  But apparently there is a club in Miami called Club Space (or something like that) that encourages people to use #spacenation.  If you search that hashtag on Instagram or twitter, you’ll find a nice combination of educational kid-friendly posts and weird not-so-family-friendly weird Miami club scenes. So, I’m recruiting all of you to help me take this hashtag over!  Please continue to post about the show, ask questions, add relevant content – and include the hashtag #SpaceNation!

After this first weekend, I’m feeling incredibly lucky to have this opportunity.  I’m thankful to the production team for being so patient with me during my first run, and to all of you who have supported me along the way! Your encouraging words really do mean so much to me and help inspire confidence in myself as I continue to do this!

So….until next time, keep exploring #SpaceNation!!! (use the hashtag, you know you want to!)

Emily CalandrelliComment