(Co-authored by Emily CoBabe)
We’re two of the founders of a new space company—a start up—called Uwingu. Emily is a space educator; Alan is a planetary scientist and former NASA Associate Administrator for science. We’re both Planetary Society members, and we’re grateful to The Planetary Society for giving us this chance to get the word out about our company’s mission and its crowd-sourcing campaign that is raising funds to launch its early operations.
What is Uwingu? We’re an LLC that will sell internet products (apps) in the space arena to accomplish two objectives—to better connect people to the sky and space exploration, and to fund space research, education, and exploration projects around the world from the proceeds on those projects. As far as we know, there has never before been anything like this—a private company whose mission includes creating a new way to fund space activities.
Uwingu means “sky” in Swahili. The company consists of astronomers, planetary scientists, former space program executives, and educators who are passionate about creating new ways for space exploration, research, and education to be funded. Included in our team are space historian and author Andy Chaikin, citizen science leader Dr. Pamela Gay, author and museum science director Dr. David Grinspoon, planet hunter Dr. Geoff Marcy, planetary scientist and aerospace executive Dr. Teresa Segura, and planetary scientist and CEO of the Planetary Science Institute, Dr. Mark Sykes. Also included are business people, software/IT specialists, and advisors from other walks of life, including publishing, television, and radio.
Our launch project is already built, but like a lot of internet products, we’re keeping it under wraps to generate excitement and suspense! In fact, we’ve already put the equivalent of over $1M of software development into designing, building, and testing that product and our second effort. This translates into thousands of donated hours by our science, education, software, and business teams, and each individual has contributed funds, as well. We still must build the nest egg of capital required to launch our web site and pay its bills before sales kick in, so we’re asking people who believe in our mission to help.
Our campaign to raise the $75,000 we need is being crowd-sourced by Indiegogo, a leading crowd funding web site. The campaign can be found at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/180221?c=home&a=904032. It was launched early this month and has just three more weeks to go.
We hope you’ll tell your friends about us, this campaign, and our ambitious goals for Uwingu. Thanks so much for your support!