Inspiration and Motivation Behind AerospaceNerd.com
AerospaceNerd.com started in March 2020 as a hobby in the Pandemic, but the inspiration and motivation behind the blog have roots in my school days.
I started this blog in the starting days of lockdown, close to the end of March 2020. It began as spacenerd.home.blog hosted on wordpress.com. Over time, I decided to buy a domain and shifted to AerospaceNerd.com in June end. The growth of the blog, coupled with an increase in my knowledge motivated me even to start a YouTube channel to support the blog. Recently, a friend of mine asked me the motivation behind AerospaceNerd. During our chat, she suggested I write a post on this topic. While I have hinted at the reasons in different blogs such as this and this, here is an article about my inspiration and motivation behind AerospaceNerd.com.
The Beginning of Blogging
Blogging started as a hobby for me, long back in my second year summers. During my first two years, I had begun writing some quotes on the recently launched YourQuote.in app. I wrote some pieces for my Mom and Dad on their birthdays, and then my Mom encouraged me to write more. So, I started writing personal blogs whenever I felt emotionally overwhelmed on a blogger website called Anecdotes of Life. I used to write small blogs usually thanking people who have made my life better.
Being introverted blogging was my way of thanking people around me. It gave me an easy way to express myself. I was able to reset my emotional state by blogging about some of the past events. Looking back, I also recall writing notes in my JEE preparation days which used to serve the same purpose. So I was blogging for my own good. It did not matter who all read it and how many views I got. I just wrote those blogs for myself. But this blog definitely served a big role in starting AerospaceNerd.com.
Writing My First Space Blog
Having joined the IIT Bombay Student Satellite Team, I was gaining so much knowledge in the field of space science and technology. Being an aerospace nerd from childhood having like-minded people around to share ideas and have discussions was quite incredible. On 26th September 2016, our first satellite Pratham launched. I was still just writing quotes around that time and wrote one describing the event.
Cut to one year after the launch. The team was planning to launch a revamped version of the website. We also wanted to share some blog posts to mark the occasion. Having started my blog page sometime back, I volunteered. I wrote a piece called "When Satellite Launched Us!", detailing the launch day's events. All my team-mates and even some seniors appreciated the article. While it was not yet entirely a space blog post, it was close.
The Joy Behind Sharing Knowledge
In the same year post-launch of Pratham, the team was invited at various places to give lectures and exhibitions. Seniors sensed this opportunity. You know they say that the best way to learn is by teaching. A lot of juniors were tasked to understand the various subsystems of Pratham and give exhibitions or lectures at different places. To be frank, I started out quite bad. Sometimes, others were preferred over me and rightly so.
But over time, I got better. The idea of sharing my knowledge while increasing space awareness made me feel so joyous. Especially, when some 4-5th graders showed with a lot of enthusiasm, to be able to help them learn more and increase their enthusiasm towards space was a different feeling altogether.
In my second year, I got the opportunity to write an article for the department magazine AirSpace. I chose to write a piece on the solar electric plane Solar Impulse. This served as my introduction to technical writing. I finally started writing Aerospace Blogs.
Website Design and Operations
Anecdotes of Life while improved my writing skills. The level of improvement is obvious even to me when reading my first and latest article. Along with this skill, it allowed me to explore website design and operations.
I have always had a creative mind. And for any creative mind, a drag and drop interface for website design means infinite possibilities. I was able to explore diverse designs. I learnt different aspects of writing a blog article as compared to an essay. As I said, the blog was for me, and I took full advantage of it. I used to change themes whenever I wanted, play with the widget bar and whatnot.
Along with understanding the basics of website design, I learnt the basics of website operations. While the number of views did not bug me, I still used to track them. I realised the different posting times could have varied response. Even different days influence the number of views. I got introduced to google analytics and SEO without knowing what they were.
Connecting the Dots
To summarise it all, blogging became a hobby which served multiple purposes for me. I was writing, sharing and learning all at the same time. Looking back, I feel my school Police DAV Public School has a significant role in this. Over the years, different English teachers (Nandini Ma'am, Preeti Ma'am, Rekha Ma'am) trained to me write good articles. I even have an essay assignment on Effects of Video Games graded 19/20 by Rekha Ma'am preserved. It was the first time I got the top grade in her work, and she asked to read the article to the whole class.
The school also served as the catalyst which cemented my love for Aerospace. I got the opportunity to participate in the University of Toronto Space Design Contest and even present our work at the conference in Canada. For the record, I was terrible at explaining my project at that time. In the team of five, I was given the least number of slides to present :P. But a big thanks to Navdeep Sir and Karminder Sir for guiding us throughout that project.
Not only this, my love for website design even started in school. My computer teacher, Chinky Ma'am, made me so interested in HTML (which sadly was relatively less in our syllabus). I used to come back home to try making HTML copies of Facebook or Google landing pages.
Therefore with time, these components of my personality developed to make me start AerospaceNerd.com.
The Start of AerospaceNerd.com
After the Pratham launch anniversary article, I was not writing much. I got busy with new responsibilities and third-year academics. A revolutionary event, Falcon Heavy Maiden Launch, broke that block for me. Falcon Heavy Launch was Apollo 11-like event for our generation. I automatically wrote a very brief piece to just inform the non-space followers about the event. I started writing again, no space articles but still writing.
Then came the next big space event, Chandrayaan 2. Chandrayaan 2, as described in this article, made me realise that the Indian public wants to know more about space. It was just that a suitable enough medium was lacking. Chandrayaan 2, with a minimal increase of ISRO's PR activities, saw a sudden surge of space and ISRO related searches on Google. The whole internet exploded with ISRO posts in the next few days. It was then I decided to disseminate knowledge while increasing mine.
I started a WhatsApp Group of Space enthusiasts of IIT Bombay and did an AMA on Chandrayaan 2 over a google group of research enthusiasts of the institute. These served as starting points for me. Then I wrote an article on Mangalyaan for completing its five years around Mars. But, the actual change came with the new year.
As usual with new years, I decided to write some resolutions for myself. Having, recently, read an article on significant events in space from the past decade, I decided to write a similar one for ISRO. It took me the whole of January to write a three-series article on ISRO in the past decade. It did gain a good response on Reddit, and I was encouraged to write further.
Then the pandemic struck. We suddenly had all the time in the world. I decided to take up the hobby one step further finally. Encouraged by a friend of mine whose blog non-engineer.com was achieving great heights, I started AerospaceNerd.com and have been writing ever since. In the journey, I have learned a lot and also got to know so many other space science communicators like Gareeb Scientist and Jatan Mehta who have further encouraged me to continue on this journey.
I don't plan to make AerospaceNerd.com as a career because I do have my PhD and a pool of opportunities to explore, but I certainly plan to continue the hobby of being an Aerospace Nerd.