The Hermes Spacecraft made an appearance at NIWeek 2011. NIWeek is National Instrument's annual customer and technology conference held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. It is the industry's premier event on graphical system design, bringing together over 3,000 of the world's brightest engineers, educators, and scientists.
For the Hermes Team who went (Morris Jarvis and Mark Longanbach), this involved loading the craft up on Wednesday, July 27th; meeting the craft out in Austin, Texas on Saturday, July 30th; setting up all day Sunday and Monday; exhibiting the Hermes Spacecraft Monday evening through early Thursday afternoon; and finally packing up the craft on late Thursday afternoon to make our evening flight. Needless to say, it was a hectic week!
NIWeek was fantastic! Morris and I were able to bring out the Hermes Spacecraft, the remote cockpit, and our test engine out to NIWeek. We were given top billing in the NI Demonstration / Exhibitors hall; the Hermes Spacecraft was the first think NIWeek attendees saw when they walked into the exhibitor area. The exhibitor area was open on Monday afternoon, starting with a kickoff party from 3:00, throughout Thursday afternoon, closing its doors at 1:00pm.
During the entire event, the Hermes Spacecraft was available for viewing for 30 hours, where thousands of people viewed the craft, took pictures, and shared their thoughts on the web. Hundreds of people came up and asked questions, took one of our 400 handouts given out, watched our looped videos, checked out our live website and Facebook feeds.
Several attendees had great questions, and in some cases, constructive criticisms. By and large, though, was the overwhelming support for our program and the Hermes. We had extremely positive feedback by the majority of the attendees, including NI staff, other vendors/exhibitors, professionals, students and general enthusiasts alike.