Freshman views Orion launch after winning NASA contest

Dec. 08, 2014

Samantha Morley
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He has chaufeured celebrities, worked for television shows, co-created a website and most recently witnessed the launch of NASA’s Orion spacecraft in Florida.

On Oct. 30, freshman business major Austin Braun was notified that he was accepted as one of 150 winners to view the launch of the Orion Spacecraft. The launch took place on Dec. 5 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

“I’m still shaking from excitement,” he said.

Braun learned about the NASA Social when he was scrolling through Twitter. The contest called for social media users with a large following to apply. Braun has over 5,000 followers.

Once on location, Braun was given press credentials that permitted him to visit mission control, chat with astronauts, talk to the research and engineering teams, view the inside of the Vehicle Assembly Building, go inside the launch control center and have a front row view of the launch.

“It’s kind of a big deal because Orion is like the main starting point for the Mars missions,” he said. “I’m pretty honored.”

In an email while he was on site, Braun stated that “being on this was nothing short of an honor. I’m thrilled, excited, and still in disbelief that I’m able to be a part of something so big.”

“What’s not to like about space? It’s just human curiosity,” he added.

Braun has several other interests as well.

In summer 2013 he worked with the crew of “Dear Eleanor,” an independent film that was produced in Longmont, Colo. Not only did he work on the set but Braun chauffeured actors such as Jessica Alba, Isabelle Fuhrman and Liana Liberato.

“Small talk was difficult, but i t was fun,” he said.

He managed to land the job by sneaking onto the set. “I was lingering around the set because I wanted to see what it was like and then I saw some people lifting water bottle crates,” he said.

Braun took a crate, joined in the line, found out that one of the assistants was let go that day and they asked if he’d like to join.

“And I was like ‘Of course, lets’ do this,’” he said.

Braun has also worked on the set of “The Voice” when the audition crew came to Denver earlier this year. He worked as a production assistant and crowd control for the long line of people waiting to audition.

“They gave me a megaphone and I was in charge of keeping up the energy and getting them pumped up,” he said. “So, it was pretty fun.”

Braun was also a grip for a Syfy channel show “Inner Dimension,” helping with the lighting and rigging equipment for the set. The series is expected to premier in 2015.

Through his experience with film and television, Braun and a few friends decided to develop a website to focus on aspects of news technology.

He is the lead editor for, a website dedicated to featuring and reviewing news technology. Braun mentioned that the website hasn’t been very active due to focusing on school, but they try to put out at least one article per day. Their website has over 26,000 followers on Twitter so far.

In terms of applying his degree, Braun is hoping to focus his knowledge on the business marketing and financial aspects of film. But he isn’t sure if he wants to make that his career.

“It’s weird because I don’t know if I want to go into film or want to keep it on the side [as a] hobby,” he said. “That’s the line I’m going to have to cross.”