April 1, 2022
Today I announced to the Cribl community that I will be a passenger on an upcoming SpaceX space tourism flight. I realize to most it sounds crazy. But I’ve always been fascinated by outer space and the idea of space travel being “the final frontier” to quote the cliche. But for me, it was always more than a cliche.
When I was 12 years old, I witnessed a mind-blowing NASA education event that took place at the Arkansas Boy Scout Council’s Westark Area Camp Orr facility, south of Harrison, Arkansas. I was lucky enough to watch an International Space Station downlink live video between the astronauts aboard the space station and students here on Earth. Participants interacted with the astronauts for over an hour and the crew spoke highly of their international compatriots. As a teen, who dreamed about visiting the stars, the experience was fascinating and inspiring. Side note – part of the conversation was spent talking about the software struggles of these early space missions and the true definition of “mission-critical software” which in this case actually meant life or death. It was really this whole interaction that implanted in the back of my mind that software would be my route to getting to space and my life-long adventure began.
From there, if you’d asked me at any point through middle school, high school, or college what my future career would be, the honest answer would’ve been Spaceman Clint Sharp…but I stuck with software engineering to avoid the inevitable wedgies that would have surely followed. I had my parents purchase MREs (Military Ready To Eat) rations to pack in my school lunch box so I’d be ready. I thought about trying to figure out how to build a self-contained recycling toilet but my father put the kibosh on that when he found out. But regardless, from the age of 12 to 17, I ate astronaut food every day. That’s why my family nickname became: Spaceman Clint Sharp – those that knew the genuine me understood.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I co-founded Cribl with some of the best people I knew. Here I am now in a company where we welcome everyone to embrace their true selves and encourage living life to the fullest. Then we heard the announcement that Pete Davidson had dropped out of Blue Origin’s upcoming launch, and I figure if there is one place in all my life that would embrace what I’ve always wanted to do, it’s this family, the Cribl family. So I turned all my attention to living out my childhood dream of going to space. I began an intense training program that I found on Fitbit’s blog. I bought every Fitbit I could find at my local stores because I knew I couldn’t be successful without the latest gadgets…and a lot of them.
The training wasn’t going to be enough, though. I needed to overhaul my diet. I went to my local sporting goods store and bought enough astronaut ice cream sandwiches and one of the last canisters of Tang I could find so I could fully immerse myself in the lifestyle. I was going to be ready when the call came.
With “space tourism” becoming a thing I decided to finally take matters into my own hands. The Cribl fundraising experience has created so many great connections for me and my team in Silicon Valley so I decided to call in a favor from a VC buddy I met during the process. I told him straight up I had to make this happen. What can you do for me? Here’s the video message he sent me to let me know what he found out.