Astronomy on Tap Seattle: Jan 27th at Peddler Brewing Co

On Friday, January 27 AoT Seattle will be taken over by local spaceflight company Blue Origin, at Peddler Brewing Company in Ballard!

Former NASA astronaut Dr. Nicholas Patrick will speak on “The New Shepard Astronaut Experience” on Blue Origin’s crewed spaceflight vehicles; and Sarah Knights and Dan Kuchan speak on “Blue Origin: Earth, in all its beauty, is just our starting place” on building the reusable hardware needed to make Blue Origin’s mission to have millions of people living and working in space a reality. Detailed speaker bios are given below the cut*.

In anticipation of a large number of questions for our speakers, we ask you to please submit questions you may have for them in advance to

As always there will be plenty of beer, and trivia, and at this event we will have special prizes generously furnished by Blue Origin. Don‘t miss it!


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*Detailed Speaker Bios:

Blue Origin: Earth, in all its beauty, is just our starting place.
Our mission is to have millions of people living and working in space. We are building the reusable hardware to make that vision a reality.

Sarah Knights fell in love with physics through explosions and thought experiments in her high school classes. At the University of Hawaii she found a particular passion for star formation and the protoplanetary environment. She was an intern at the world’s largest binoculars (W.M. Keck Observatory’s Interferometer) and then worked for several years at Gemini Observatory, working with mid-infrared instrumentation. Upon discovering that many people believe the Moon is not visible in the daytime, she decided to dedicate her life to teaching people science. For most of the last decade you could find her at the Museum of Flight managing the educational outreach programs offered there, before finding the opportunity of a lifetime at Blue Origin. She is now on the Outreach team at Blue, coordinating the internship program and other student engagement. She hopes to someday become the first Blue Origin Outreach Coordinator in space.

Dan Kuchan has been interested in engineering ever since making custom airplanes in Microsoft Flight Simulator as a child. After graduating from Saint Louis University with a BS in aerospace engineering, he began his engineering career at Midcoast Aviation, a company which completes corporate jets. Three years later he returned to school for an MBA. Following a year at Jet Aviation as a design engineer, he was hired by Blue Origin. While at Blue he has taken a unique career path. Starting in 2013 as a systems engineer specializing in mass properties, he has since worked for nearly every product group in the company, holding positions in manufacturing, avionics, fluid systems, structures, and mechanical systems. This cross-training and experience led him to his current position as a Product Development Team lead engineer on the New Glenn program.

The New Shepard Astronaut Experience
Former NASA astronaut Dr. Nicholas Patrick will discuss what the future holds for Blue Origin’s New Shepard astronauts.

Dr. Nicholas Patrick is the Human Integration Architect at Blue Origin, where he ensures that spacecraft requirements and designs are human centered. While at NASA, he flew on two shuttle missions to the International Space Station during its construction: STS-116 and STS-130. On STS-130, he performed three spacewalks to attach and activate the station’s life support module, Tranquility, and its Cupola observation windows.

Dr. Patrick was born and educated in the UK. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cambridge University and–after moving to the US–a PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. He then worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Everett on flight deck design. He is an avid pilot and flight instructor, with over 2,500 hours in airplanes and helicopters.

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