The “I AM actually a freaking rocket scientist” badge.


For members who can utter the phrase “It’s not rocket science” with authority. (DG)



  1. I can’t claim to do this, but my other half occasionally plays bridge on the internet with the guy that designed the IR seeker for the guidance system on the original TOW* (an anti-tank missile) back in the late 1960s. I guess this sort of qualifies him as a rocket scientist.

    (*) TOW uses a guidance system known in the trade as SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command to Line of Sight). The missile has a pyrotechnic flare in the tail and an IR sensor in the sight measures the missile’s deviation from its line of sight. The gunner keeps the target in the sights and the guidance system automatically corrects the missile’s flight. This was an improvement on earlier missiles where the gunner also had to manually guide the missile with a joystick.

  2. Well, yes. I’ve designed reusable SSTO launchers and satellite systems, and gotten NASA money for designing interstellar propulsion systems. But the neat trick is doing it as an independent consultant rather than working for a government agency or large company — yes, for 10 years I was a freelance rocket scientist, designing satellites for food!

  3. Yep, I totally get paid to do stuff I love, rocket surgery. I’m at Marshall Space Flight Center. I’m currently involved in performance of the RSRMV for Ares I-X and Ares V.

    Other things I got pulled into: somehow I got pulled into working on MLAS, USM, and (for the kids) The Great Moonbuggy Race.

  4. Designed, built and tested two different rocket designs all by myself.
    Major contributor in development and test of 14 other rocket designs.
    Burned through the wall only two of them (and one of those I predicted).
    Blew out the nozzle of another, which was rather fun. We never found it in the desert.
    Have touched hardware which is currently in space.

  5. Okay, having made a 3D print of this badge (which I deserve based on too many years of putting up with NASA) and can be seen, downloaded and printed by the patient souls with 3d printers here ( can we have a badge for “I actually talked a funding agency into buying me a cool toy that I get to use for nefarious purposes after finishing the job for which it was purchased?” Or does that need editing?

  6. I spent two years on internships working for a NASA contractor on the life support systems of the International Space Station (ISS) and I worked with the team that currently services the EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) otherwise known as the Spacesuit. I’ve also been able to sign a piece of hardware that has been installed up on the ISS and worked on the Mars prototype spacesuit.

  7. I has a sad, I never finished my Aerospace Engineering degree. But I do know multiple “actual rocket scientists.” (One of which is working on the honest-to-goodness rocket motors for the Dragon spacecraft. Yes, that’s right, Dragon, not Falcon. He is as “freaking rocket scientist” as you can get!)

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