Celebrating Space Day: 9 Blinkers Share What It's Like To Work with NASA
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May 6, 2021

Celebrating Space Day: 9 Blinkers Share What It's Like To Work with NASA

“It’s an honor to work on projects that champion science and ingenuity and inspire the next generation of scientists, educators, students, and space enthusiasts.” —Tristan Plank, Principal UX Designer

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To celebrate National Space Day on May 7, we asked some of our team members to share what it’s like working with NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and other NASA agencies. Before we hear what they had to say, let’s take a look at what Space Day is and why we think it’s worth celebrating.

Related: Making Data More Usable and Useful

A brief history of Space Day

National Space Day was founded in 1997 by Lockheed Martin Corporation and falls on the first Friday in May. Celebrated by students, scientists, and space-lovers alike, it’s a day to recognize the achievements of space exploration and inspire students to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

For us, National Space Day is an opportunity to celebrate an exciting past, a bright future, and all of the brilliant, creative minds that have gotten us to where we are today. As an evidence-based research and design firm, science and innovation are at the heart of everything we do. So, whether it’s to celebrate the people who lead the way in space exploration, or to encourage the next generation of scientists and innovators, we believe Space Day is worth the celebration.

What’s it like working with NASA?

Short answer: incredible! Since 2016, we’ve had the great fortune to work alongside the brilliant minds at NASA. We asked some of our team members to share their favorite memories of working on research, strategy, and design projects for the organization and here’s what they had to say:

“If I had to pick one bucket list project, it would be redesigning the NASA experience. This project and working with bright, dedicated folks who have a very rich history of creativity, problem solving, exploration, and discovery, has been a highlight of my design career. It’s very exciting to see this new Horizon Design System become a reality, and all the great things it will enable over the years to come.” —Peter Stern, Head of Design
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Blink Partner, Peter Stern, talks space with NASA's Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Green.
“While working with NASA, I had the opportunity to interview the employees who were engaged in bringing information to the public — everyone from school-aged kids to PhD scientists. Their dedication to explaining and sharing the organization’s scientific discoveries was truly inspiring. It was an honor to work with and support them.” —Heidi Adkisson, Principal UX Designer
“Common wisdom advises against meeting your heroes. I have to disagree. NASA is a shining beacon of what science and ingenuity can achieve that I’ve looked up to ever since I was a little kid. Working for and with NASA was everything I hoped it would be — and more.”—Quba Michalski, Director of Innovation
Quba Michalski, Peter Stern, Heidi Adkisson, and Megan Greco
“I had the opportunity to work with two teams within NASA. Both times I was blown away by the number of brilliant, kind, and humble people who work there. Everyone was excited by the work, eager to keep learning, and open to collaboration. I love knowing that our work will inspire and engage future generations of space explorers.” —Megan Greco, Visual Designer
Blink’s Eyes team in the clean room observation deck at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
Blink’s Eyes team in the clean room observation deck at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL, watching early stages of the Mars rover assembly in 2019. Karen Clark Cole, Bill Flora, Megan Greco, and Peter Stern.
“Working on a NASA project has always been one of my career goals. The organization combines public service, groundbreaking science and engineering, and life-changing scientific discoveries to inspire generation after generation. The teams at NASA are smart, collaborative, inspiring, and overall wonderful to work with.” —Tristan Plank, Principal UX Designer
Mission Control Center at JLP
Mission Control Center at JLP
“Working with NASA and getting to tour JPL was a dream come true. It was incredible to collaborate with such brilliant minds, who were yet so down to earth. It gave me comfort to know that even NASA teams enjoy simple pleasures like Chukar Cherries from Seattle (one person even snuck the box away to his office in the middle of the meeting).” —Teresa Liu Park, UX Researcher
“I loved working with the Earth scientists at NASA. Day in and day out, they are helping us better understand how the planet is changing and what we can do about it. Finding ways to make the data they rely on easier to access, process, and use has been really rewarding.” —Tom Satwicz, Head of Research
“NASA possesses a global reach that spans the spectrum of all abilities. Working on accessibility for NASA is the opportunity to affect the experiences of a very large number of people. Being involved in this project from its earliest days means we can embrace inclusive design and design solutions that benefit everyone. By fully supporting those who have physical challenges, we expand the chance to inform and excite new audiences.” —Joe Welinske, Accessibility Director
Karen Clark Cole, Peter Stern, Joe Welinske, Heidi Adkisson
Karen Clark Cole, Peter Stern, Joe Welinske, Heidi Adkisson
“Working closely with NASA teams and hearing updates about the latest missions and breakthroughs throughout our project was a constant reminder of the impressive and important work they do. It was an honor to do our part to help the public learn more about NASA’s work and be equally inspired.” —Mike Weinstein, UX Designer
View into the clean room from the JPL observation deck. The Mars rover and its spaceship were built and assembled at JPL, NASA’s center focused on Mars in Pasadena, CA.
View into the clean room from the JPL observation deck. The Mars rover and its spaceship were built and assembled at JPL, NASA’s center focused on Mars in Pasadena, CA.

Happy Space Day!

Throughout our years of work with NASA, we’ve been inspired by their teams, remarkable discoveries, and dedication to making scientific data accessible to everyone. We’re delighted to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of space exploration this Space Day — and every day — alongside our fellow scientists, engineers, and students.

If you’re interested in learning more about our project work or how we used evidence-driven strategy, research, and design to reimagine data delivery at NASA, come say hello.