I'm Ben Faltinowski. I am an Electrical Engineer who left the Auto Industry to work in my Niche Career, which is Aerospace. I've worked on NASA and US Air Force Rockets. Ask Me Anything!

Ben Faltinowski
May 19, 2017

The chance to talk to a real "Rocket Scientist" about rockets, space flight, how science fiction is influencing space flight, and merely how to find what inspires you in your work, leave behind what doesn't inspire you, and pursue your true passion/calling or Niche Career.

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When is next launch scheduled?

May 20, 5:09AM EDT0

You can look at the launch schedule at Spaceflightnow.com

May 20, 10:10AM EDT0

How's it like working for Nasa?

Last edited @ May 20, 3:18AM EDT.
May 20, 3:18AM EDT1

I never worked directly for NASA, but for two contractors for them, namely Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance.

May 20, 10:11AM EDT0

Is it true that a 'Miss'ile is supposed to miss a target and the one that hits is called a 'Hit'ile :)

May 20, 1:39AM EDT2


May 20, 10:11AM EDT0

What advice would you give a 13 YO who dreams to become a rocket scientist?

Last edited @ May 19, 9:42PM EDT.
May 19, 9:41PM EDT3

Read about the school and college subjects that great rocket engineers studied.  Werner Von Braun, Robert Goddard, and Homer Hickman. Follow their example, they knew what they were doing.

May 19, 10:50PM EDT1
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What kind of rockets do you work on/Plan to work on? 

May 19, 9:37PM EDT1

I've worked on the Shuttle program, Delta II and IV, and NASA's SLS.  I'd like to design and build my own sounding rockets similar to Magellan's Black Brant IX.

May 19, 10:47PM EDT1
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What's the most dangerous thing you encountered in your work so far?

May 19, 9:35PM EDT1

Threat of budget cuts and layoffs.  Seriously!  In fact, that very thing is changing the way I'm going about engineering and work.  I plan on having an AMA on this soon, and my next two AMA's hit on this.

May 19, 10:45PM EDT2

That doesnt sound good. I'll be watching out for that AMA. :) Your job is really interesting.

Last edited @ May 20, 4:16AM EDT.
May 20, 4:15AM EDT0

What inspires you in your work? I can see that you really are very passionate about it.

May 19, 9:26PM EDT1

Hi this is unbelievable! To talk to you... what's your opinion when former president Obama cancelled the Constellation program and did that affect you and other members of your team? Thank you 

May 19, 9:22PM EDT0

What kind of future do you see for humanity?

May 19, 9:15PM EDT2

They need to think about and search for the reason why we and the universe are here.  Many have their scientific and religious views on it, but if you're motivated, you study, you seek, you should be able to come to those conclusions.

Last edited @ May 19, 11:32PM EDT.
May 19, 11:31PM EDT0

What do you write about and is your writing inspired by your passions?"

May 19, 5:47AM EDT1

I like sci-fi writing, would like to do comics, write about travel, life, family, and finances.  These are inspired by my passions, and the passions to help people provide for themselves in a time where corporate and loyalty to longevity and skill is no longer there.

May 19, 8:59PM EDT1

Would you still have found it easy to switch to a Niche career, if it was in a path that didn't have the potential for percent earning wages?

May 18, 11:27PM EDT1

What matters most is that you love what you're doing.  If it was all for money, I'd pursue being a lawyer or doctor.  Not that those are invalid (and they do have a good / worthy place), but if that's not what your heart's in then you just can't do it.  You'll hate it, and become one of those employees that winds up crabbing at everyone (and you know what I'm talking about).

May 19, 8:57PM EDT1
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Have you ever been to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in DC, and if so, do you have a favorite part?

May 18, 10:26PM EDT1

I have.  I loved seeing the Bell X1, the X-15, and Amelia Earnhart's Red Lockheed Vega.

May 19, 8:53PM EDT0

Do you think NASA is influenced by things that writers envision in movies and television?

May 18, 9:05PM EDT1

Many are influenced by these, and were inspired by old TV shows, movies, comics, and the very old 1930's serials such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.

May 19, 8:51PM EDT0
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what is one thing that you disliked about working with NASA?

May 18, 8:37PM EDT1

I can't say I disliked anything at this point.

May 19, 8:50PM EDT0

Have you ever gotten a chance to experience zero gravity in some capacity?

May 18, 5:12PM EDT1

Not yet.

May 19, 8:50PM EDT0

Did you always want to be an electrical engineer in college?

May 18, 1:27PM EDT1

 I wanted to be a storm chaser and chase tornadoes from the time I was six until I was 18. However, I began to develop interest in the equipment used, aviation electronics, radar, etcI didn't realize that the common ground amongst all those interest was electrical engineering so I chose that, and I'm not sorry! 

May 18, 2:34PM EDT0

What do you think of SpaceX and all that they are doing?

May 18, 12:40PM EDT1

Both SpaceX and Blue Origin  are doing great things for the space industry. 

May 18, 2:34PM EDT1
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What is your favorite space related movie?

May 18, 11:23AM EDT1

I like Apollo 13 a lot. On the fictional end, it's the Star Trek films.

May 18, 2:32PM EDT2

What is one of the coolest projects you worked on when in the auto industry?

May 18, 8:46AM EDT1

 I will say that despite the auto industry not being my Niche Career,  it wasn't all bad for me. I got to work on the design and development of a seating controller for a GM vehicle. It was fun, and a highlight of being in that industry

May 18, 2:31PM EDT1

I bet EV's would have been a great fit for you if you went that direction?

May 19, 9:30PM EDT0

What are your thoughts about the potential for alien life out in space?

May 18, 2:39AM EDT1

 We haven't seen them yet, but it could be possible.  It will be interesting to see what our current astronomers and our future explores find going forward

May 18, 2:30PM EDT1
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