Space. The final frontier.
It is now on the verge of being conquered by humans. Earlier this month Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin led by Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos launched humans into the final frontier. We can mark this date as the beginning of “space tourism.” While Branson’s crew consisted of Virgin Galactic employees, the Blue Origin crew was made up of civilians, including Bezos and his younger brother, Mark. Included in the crew were the oldest and youngest people to ever be launched into space, Wally Funk, 82, who was part of the Mercury 13 project, and Oliver Daemon, 18, son of the CEO of Somerset Capital, Joes Daemon. Of course, we cannot fail to mention Elon Musk and his work at SpaceX to round out the trio of pioneers.
This revitalization in the interest in space brings many Gen Xers back to their own childhood and dreams of being an astronaut. Even though many remember the Challenger disaster in 1986, the thought of being an astronaut was in every kid’s top 5, “what do you want to be when you grow up” answers. Things are quite different today. Most Gen Zers and Millennials do not even consider this. Even with inspiring astronauts like Garrett Reisman, one of the last astronauts to fly aboard the Discovery, telling his own tale of overcoming deep adversity to make the cut, top answers to the prior question include “being an influencer.”
However, perhaps there is a way to bridge the gap between the dreams of the older and the younger generations. NASA is now providing media credentials to influencers! Per their website: “NASA will provide media credentials to social networking users who will actively collect, report, analyze and disseminate NASA news and information on digital media platforms. Attendees will have the same access to the event as news media. This includes, but is not limited to, attending tours and viewing opportunities, news conferences, demonstrations, interviews with key personnel.”
From the same site, to qualify as a “space influencer” you must:
- Actively use multiple social networking platforms and tools to disseminate information to a unique audience.
- Regularly produce new content that features multimedia elements.
- Have the potential to reach a large number of people using digital platforms.
- Reach a unique audience, separate and distinctive from traditional news media and/or NASA audiences.
- Must have an established history of posting content on social media platforms.
- Have previous postings that are highly visible, respected and widely recognized.
- Does NOT feature items such as profanity, spam, adult-oriented material, and/or other inappropriate activities.
Many have high hopes for space in terms of opening up new areas of commerce, saving our planet, and helping humanity reach for the stars. In terms of space influencers though, it also seems to be quite lucrative.
In a precursor to the value of space to brands, Estee Lauder recently launched its Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex to the International Space Station (ISS) for astronauts to take photos and videos in space of the $105 per bottle serum. The company will then be able to use them for advertisements across its social media channels. Afterwards, Estée Lauder will auction off one of the 10 bottles they’re flying into space for charity. The cost to Estée Lauder is $17,500 per hour.
Astronauts, as government employees, are restricted from participating in product sponsorships. However, that doesn’t mean that they do not partake in them. For example, DoubleTree by Hilton sent chocolate chip cookies up to the ISS to be the first food baked in space. NASA hopes this commercial activity will open up opportunities for companies that never thought about doing activities in space. And with the ISS someday being retired, NASA wants to encourage this commerce to support a possible private space station in the future.
In addition to a commercially viable space station, let’s hope that NASA and our astronauts’ activities encourage a whole new generation of astronaut influencers to push the frontiers as well as document them. And while you are up there, don’t forget to disclose your relationships with the brands!