Ideas taking flight… and landing!

The space between theory and reality in space travel just narrowed dramatically for humankind. Mere days after Erika Wagner spoke at TEDxRainier 2015 about space travel for the everyday person, we can now celebrate an historic feat in rocket science taking us one step towards commercial space travel!

In a test launch on Monday, November 24th in the Texas desert, Blue Origin (where Wagner works) sent a rocket 62 miles above earth, and then brought it back down in a perfectly safe vertical landing. A successful landing of a spent rocket leaps a huge hurdle for space travel, and Blue Origin plans to put this advancement towards one day sending civilian astronauts up into space to look down at their home planet, weightless from above.

This idea worth spreading has literally taken flight! Watch this incredible video of New Shepard’s successful landing below, and congratulations to Erika Wagner and the Blue Origin team!


Leading the conversation on education reform

Jesse Hagopian is leading the conversation on education reform both locally and nationally. A history teacher at Garfield High School, Hagopian led the 2013 boycott against common core testing, unanimously backed by Garfield faculty.

Hagopian has taken an active role in speaking out against standardized testing, appearing on NBC and in a recent feature on PBS Newshour. He and many other educators argue that excessive testing distracts from the actual goals of education – teaching critical thinking and giving students tools for success. Through his blog I Am An Educator, Hagopian works to educate parents and students about their right to opt out of testing, and just this past year over half of all Juniors in Washington state chose to opt out.

In a hopeful announcement, President Obama himself recently called for a cap on excessive testing, citing that kids need to enjoy learning, teachers must be able to teach creatively, and that the tools our students need in order to be prepared for their futures can’t be learned by filling in bubbles.

Jessie Hagopian will be sharing some of his experiences at this year’s TEDxRainier at McCaw Hall.