My Space Adventure with the NASASpaceFlight.com Crew!

I recently started collaborating with the independent space news site NSF, also known as nasaspaceflight.com. They invited me down to Florida last week to help with the production of a few videos and their live coverage of the launch of the Crew-7 mission to the Space Station. I detailed the trip in my latest video.

NSF’s YouTube channel has a strong following, nearing a million subscribers. They cover most of the rocket launches from Florida and from SpaceX’s Starbase in Texas along with on demand coverage about the space industry worldwide. In addition to their news and event coverage they have cameras that provide a live 24/7 feed of activities at the Kennedy Space Center & Port Canaveral, and SpaceX’s two Texas locations.

I’ve already contributed as a co-host for five launches. These collaborations don’t interfere with my regular channel activities, and they allow me to find a more productive outlet for my space passion.

On the trip the NSF crew and I had the opportunity to tour the United Launch Alliance’s launchpads in Florida. The sheer scale of these rockets and launchpads is awe-inspiring. You can see more photos and footage in the video linked above. The video we produced at their facilities will be up at NSF in the near future.

We also witnessed the rollout of an Atlas V rocket. This particular Atlas V is in its most powerful configuration, with five solid rocket boosters attached. There are just under two dozen Atlas V launches remaining until it is replaced by the new larger Vulcan rocket. The mission rolling out was for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) which is mostly classified but they have released some details here.

Later that night we went to the Kennedy Space Center to cover the launch of Crew-7 to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon. The launch was at 3:30 a.m., the second night launch I’ve witnessed in person. The rocket also successfully landed back at the nearby Cape Canaveral landing site, which was another highlight of this adventure! In the video you can see the landing and hear the massive sonic booms too.

This opportunity came about over my frustration with the performance of my space related videos. My recent coverage of the Artemis 1 launch didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped on my own channel. This is due to the YouTube algorithm siloing creators into one specific topic – in fact most of my subscribers didn’t even see the thumbnail for those videos!

As poor as those videos performed they did get noticed by a member of the NSF team who asked if I was up for a collaboration and the rest is now history :).

So, if you’re interested in space exploration, I highly recommend subscribing to NSF’s channel. My space playlist now also includes all of my NSF contributions too.

Channel Updates and Future Plans – Navigating the YouTube Algorithm

It’s been a while since I last checked in with a channel update. I’ve been considering some changes to expand my presence on YouTube, primarily to navigate the ever-evolving algorithm. I detail that in my latest video.

I recently did some research, following my video about how the algorithm misses things from a viewer perspective, and found that most of my subscribers aren’t seeing the content I produce. The YouTube algorithm seems to prioritize certain content over others, and with my diverse coverage in the tech space, it’s been challenging to ensure that my videos reach all of you.

Over the past year, I’ve garnered 8.1 million views, but only a fraction of those views come from my subscribers. It’s evident that not every subscriber is aware of my new uploads, which feels to like an algorithmically generated shadow unsubscribe. This led me to consider YouTube’s current (albeit ever changing) advice: start a new channel when existing topics aren’t gaining traction. But starting from scratch is a daunting task, especially when you’ve built a community over the years.

Analyzing my channel’s performance, I noticed that cord-cutting topics have been the most popular recently. However, just a year ago, laptops and Chromebooks were the top performers. It’s clear that consumer interests shift, and as a content creator, I need to adapt.

Given these insights, I’ve decided to branch out a bit. I’ve launched a new channel, “Lon’s Gadget Picks,” where I’ll be reviewing various gadgets I receive through the Amazon Vine program with short reviews. These are typically things I’d skip on the main channel but they don’t take long to produce so I may as well see if this kind of topic has any legs on its own.

I’ve also partnered with NASASpaceflight.com, where I’ve had the opportunity to provide commentary on launches and contribute footage. This collaboration allows me to indulge my passion for space exploration and find a new audience as space videos typically underperform on my main channel.

While I’m excited about these new ventures, I’m also committed to continuing with the content you do watch. However, I’m considering spinning off some of these topics into separate channels in the future as I continue to test ways of finding audience for my less popular content.

To make it easier for you to keep up with all my content, I’ve consolidated everything on my blog. You can also subscribe to my weekly email newsletter or the almost daily email for regular updates. For those interested, I’ve expanded to other platforms like Amazon and Floatplane, offering the same content as on YouTube.

Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to all of you, especially the supporters who’ve contributed to the channel. Your viewership and support mean the world to me. Stay tuned for more updates, and as always, thank you for being a part of this journey!