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Our Future Plans

Tandena's current seasonal work goes all the way into November, so she will be happily occupied with visiting the national parks of the Mid-Atlantic region until then. In particular she is looking forward to working in Assateague and Gettysburg National Park. As the season goes on she will be working less with the invasive grasses and forbs (Japanese Stilt Grass, Johnson Grass, Wavy Leaf Basket Grass, Chickory, Curly Dock, Mile a Minute) and more with vines, shrubs, and trees (Wisteria, Kudzu, Privet, Thorny Olive, Autumn Olive, Paulonia, Tree of Heaven, Mimosa).

Come December she will get to relax! She is thinking of hanging out with some east coast friends, reading some books, reviving some hobbies that have been relegated to the backburner, and maybe taking up karate lessons again. For the holidays we are thinking of skiing back in Colorado. In 2019 she expects to get involved in another botanical field survey, but she'd like to find a more permanent job engaged in ecological modeling. She might have to return to school for that, but she would be happy to do that again. If she doesn't land a more permanent position next year, she will probably do just that.

After more than a year of working on software for two cubesats, Jackson is busily wrapping things up in time for SpaceQuest to deliver the satellites in Seattle on September 24th. The satellites will remain on the earth for two more months as they, along with about 90 other small satellites, are integrated into the large deployer structure that will mount to the top of a Falcon 9 rocket. During these two months, Jackson and his co-workers will be working on more software to automate the process of pointing radio antennas at the right places in the sky, downloading the valuable data the satellites have gathered, and uploading new schedules and commands to be executed by the satellites in space. Launch will occur in late November or possibly December, and will be followed by probably a month of testing, calibrating, and troubleshooting before the satellites are ready to do their job all by themselves. After that, Jackson along with the rest of the team will likely move on to designing Spacequest's upgraded next generation of 3U cubesats. Right now, Jackson's ambition is to eventually work on technologies that enable small satellites (which currently exist almost exclusively in low earth orbit just a few hundred kilometers overhead) to explore deep space, venturing to the moon, asteroids, and mars.

In the long term, there are lots of small-satellite companies in many locations -- wherever hip, growing, tech-fueled cities are to be found. Similarly, while ecological field work requires nearby wilderness, there are lots of interesting national parks and forests all over the USA. Tandena and Jackson have loved their experience in DC and the opportunity to explore the East Coast, but right now we don't imagine living here forever -- we will probably move again. Eventually, we both might want to head closer to home, somewhere in the western half of the United States. But in the meantime, one of these years it might be exciting to seek out the possibility of spending a while in an exotic overseas location like Denmark, India, Australia, etc.