A slight departure from my usual area of work – a contact had got involved with a project to crowdfund personalised missions to the moon using Kickstarter, and I offered a little PR advice during the summer to help them towards their target.
PocketSpaceCraft.com will allow people to create their own customised craft – small discs (the size of beer mats) that piggyback a professional space mission via a small, low-cost CubeSat satellite, before being released in space and landing on the moon. Each will carry a range of instruments to track light, radiation, pitch, speed and so forth, all of which can be tracked through your own smartphone app.
I managed to convince the landlord of my local pub, The Red Lion in Blewbury, to back the project in a bid to become “the first pub in space”. (Press Release – Blewbury’s Red Lion to be the first pub in space)
The story was well liked by the local press, generating media coverage for the pub and the project itself. Landlord Matt Wardle was interviewed by BBC Radio Oxford, and the story also made the Oxford Mail, the Didcot Herald, Oxford Times, and the front page of the Oxfordshire Guardian (below).
It’s a great idea, but the project was not helped by being pitched very much as a scientific experiment, with lots of different product choices, and it ran through the middle of the summer with any digital marketing support – which meant despite terrific initial media coverage (and a visit from Blewbury’s local MP, Ed Vaizey) it fell short of its £290,000 target.
— Ed Vaizey (@edvaizey) July 31, 2013
Pocketspacecraft did, however, attract the necessary private funding and will go ahead as planned in 2015.