New Horizons, The Boyfriend, and Why You Should Never Give Up on Your Dreams

matthew mccraney usafa

Part of why I love dating Matt is that we are alike in some ways but very different in others.  When Matt and I started dating, he had just finished his service in the United States Airforce.  Matt is a graduate of the United States Airforce Academy where he played football, and then went on to be a bio-environmental engineer.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The loveable and wonderful Crossfit Coach and gym owner that has a heart for making you your best self by being strong, is/was a brilliant man who was kindof a big deal bio-environmental engineer who worked on a launch to Pluto.  

A couple of weeks ago, my Dad clued me in to all of this Pluto extravaganza and I mentioned it in passing to Matt.  Matt and I have normal to us but not normal to others work schedules, so for context, I most likely mentioned this right before he had to start coaching another class... to which he very casually said " I worked on that launch" and then went back to coaching. 

If you know me, this was not something that I was going to let go and just be a passing comment that was not revisited.  I was stunned and excited.  So after some dramatic pleading and pestering (love you Matt) he obliged.  The following is a peek into our relationship, interview style. 

R : So I can't believe you worked on this MISSION and forgot to tell me about it. 

M: Robyn, I did not forget to tell you about it, you did not ask.  It also was not that big of a deal, I was doing my job at the time. 

R: Are you kidding me???? Matt, this is a very big deal, and I think we need a party and a celebration. I assure you that I was never asked to just "do my job" that involved in any way shape or form, working on something that went to outer space.  Do you remember what you did? Were you like hammering something on the outside of the rocket? , does someone call you and say "Hey Matt we need you to come work on our pluto space mission?" Matt, I need details. 

M: No, I was not hammering anything Robyn. And at the time, my boss Lieutenant Colonel Hoak called me in and said that I had been selected along with three NCO's to go to a special training and be on a team to work on the mission.  We went through several weeks of training for our specific tasks.  There were several teams from NASA, the USAF, and the Dept. of Energy. 

R: Woah.  So again what did you have to learn to do? Was it different from the other launches you worked on? What was the big deal, and why does the Airforce get called in for a space mission?

M: Robyn, the New Horizions craft has a very special radioisotope thermoelectric generator on board. Or RTG - you can google what all that means for your blog.  But I was there and went through training to make sure that in the occurrence of catastrophic launch failure that there was an active plan to control or eliminate radioactive or environmental hazards. 

R: What did it feel like on the day?  What does it feel like knowing that it will be there today after 9 years?

M: I remember thinking that it would be cool to say "I was there" when it actually made it.  I also have a pin & patch. 

R: What? Swag? Gear?.... We must now go and get it!!!


The other night, I made Matt dig through his old USAF trunk and lo and behold the pin and patch were there in perfect condition.  The next day, I was at my parents house and the news came on and there was a Pluto announcement/update.... notice anything on this gentleman's lapel that looks familiar? 


Well, today is the day and I could not be more excited.  Log on HERE tonight for the "phone home event". For me, this last couple of days has been exciting to learn new things about someone that I care about, but I have also learned a lot of lessons that tie into what is an overall "season" of learning patience.  I tend to be someone that sees the big picture, but is annoyed by the waiting, and not patient.  As you know though, I experienced such great joy at writing down a simple goal and achieving it. The training took time.  It was not reasonable to just wake up and complete a mini tri.  

I read an article about the Bush Administration, Senator Mikulski, Bill Nye, and NASA administrators O'keefe & Griffin.  I found it interesting that the mission to Pluto was actually cancelled multiple times.  If it was not for the tenacity and drive of these individuals, we would not be privy to all the wonderful things we are going to see today.  Every single time some new tidbit flies across my twitter feed, or my insta I am in awe.  Textbooks will be rewritten, new information for generations will be gathered, all because someone decided to not give up. 

In my own life and business, things are often unclear.  I'm choosing to fight, and look to the heavens for encouragement and truth.  This week I encourage you to do the same for yourself and those around you. Look up to the heavens for clarity, and fight for what you believe in.  My sister is out of town, and in true form sent me the following image of the night skies for my blog.  I hope you enjoy it! If you do would you consider sharing it and credit her? While your at it, tag someone that you know has a big dream, and tell them not to give up... they might just change the world. 

rachael wise photography night sky