Radio Producer Interviews Astronauts In “Another Space Mystery” Podcast
Selling a product to students is often an art form in itself. Whether you’re a simple seller on Craigslist or an industry veteran like Todd Simmons, who owns The Original Podcast, student transactions are the role of the master.
Even for seasoned sales professionals, large-scale student sales are made on a much smaller scale. Highly coveted experiences like the New York Comedy Festival and last year’s Chelsea Lately live show was one such instance where Todd got out-of-his-way to meet his students.
But this isn’t the first time the podcast creator has reached out to interested students, but this year is different. The podcast producer is currently interning at NASA and found himself commuting over an hour-and-a-half to Kennedy Space Center every day.
It is this experience that led to the creation of his new mission “Another Space Mystery”.
Giving back to the students
NASA’s mission is about using the people of the world to study and learn more about the very existence of space. But, just because Todd is grateful for the opportunity doesn’t mean he wants to simply let the students go back to their normal lives after the excitement of the show.
While showcasing the students on the space center’s Facebook page, Todd also included the space educators who work with them. This past fall, many of them had the opportunity to meet not only astronauts, but also engineers, technicians, and other NASA staff.
For most students, an internship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But when NASA contacts you with a chance to work there for free, don’t let it pass you by. If you’re interested in pursuing the space program after college, then this is a good opportunity to learn about the job, what to expect, and the excitement of working in the field.
The partners who help make the project possible
Although Todd is able to keep a pretty tight lid on the details of the podcast creation process, there are a few special collaborators involved. In order to make the podcast available to students on the Space Center Facebook page, the cooperation from Dylan Piers, Todd’s intern, was crucial. As well as keeping the students apprised of what’s going on, Dylan also hands out free mp3 downloads to the listeners.
The largest beneficiary from this collaboration are the students. The unique interaction between the academic mentors and the creators of the podcast provides more time for the students to spend in space. Because of all the visits from NASA staff, there is a unique opportunity for students to meet with the type of astronauts they’d normally spend an entire year studying.
In addition to getting professional advice, the students are also able to schedule their own one-on-one meetings with the astronauts. Even though they don’t have to have the program as a requirement, the students are able to perfect their résumés, put their best foot forward, and learn firsthand what it’s like to work in space.
NASA connection of support
Although most of the interns take their work home with them, most of the podcasts are taped at the Space Center. For this reason, Todd rarely leaves the city. That’s not to say that he doesn’t occasionally travel to other cities. After all, the podcasts are about learning about space, right?
One of the podcast’s most popular episodes covers the completion of the Tiangong-1 spacecraft, a Chinese space lab that landed back on Earth earlier this year. In order to document the journey of a delicate spacecraft, the astronauts were able to fly out to the station in a rocket created by Boeing.
Todd was also allowed to get a sneak peek of the Kennedy Space Center, the iconic spaceport that’s home to hundreds of satellites, a 5.5-acre Mission Control center that’s 13,000 square feet, and the Orion’s next-generation spacecraft assembly facility.
Not only do the students benefit from the connections and experiences from all these developers, but they also take away practical knowledge from the podcasts. This includes useful tips about the complex American space program, as well as the value of living in space.