An interview with Ellie in Space!
Published on December 1, 2022
“Ellie in Space” is a YouTube channel founded by Eliana Sheriff dedicated to exploring the world of spaceflight and space exploration. Through her channel, she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm in an entertaining and accessible way to help viewers understand the inner workings of the space industry.
From sharing stories from astronauts, and interviewing industry professionals, to visiting mission control centres and launching rockets, her videos provide a unique and interesting perspective on this rather complex subject. Ellie strives to make space exploration more relatable and understandable for everyone, regardless of age or technical knowledge. Whether you have a passing interest in space exploration or are passionate about the topic, Ellie in Space has something for everyone.
Let’s join Ellie as she takes us on an educational, entertaining, and inspiring journey into the world of space exploration!
What inspired you to pursue space reporting?
“As is the story for many YouTubers, my original intent for my channel, and what it became are vastly different. Initially, I was making reviews of unique AirBnBs (houseboat, old fire lookout) but these videos were not gaining any traction.
My partner at the time got a Starlink unit in the early ‘Better Than Nothing Beta’ days and suggested we make a performance review. People seemed to have great interest in the promise of Starlink so, like any good reporter, I decided to make covering its developments my ‘beat’ (akin to a health or crime news segment).
Fast forward, I expanded to covering SpaceX topics and even Tesla and my channel grew from around 100 subscribers to over 50,000 in about a year and a half. The leap to quitting my job is rooted in a deep belief that space is just beginning and someone needs to be at the forefront to cover its developments in a way that mainstream media is not invested in.”
What is your favorite part of creating content?
“I love conducting interviews. Everyone has a story, even if they feel they don’t. Luckily with nearly 10 years of TV News experience under my belt, I feel comfortable and right at home doing everything from shooting video, editing content, and publishing to the web.
But I love the experience of meeting new people, hearing their stories, and often teasing out a side of them that few see, especially if they already have a public persona.”
What do you think is the most exciting space story that you have reported on so far?
“This is a story that is continuing. I have immense love and excitement for Starship and its promise for mankind. In fact, I am not alone. This is the beloved story of many SpaceTubers, and others that have quit their job, and moved cross-country to pop a squat down in Boca Chica, Texas. SO many of us believe in the mission, even if we don’t work for SpaceX.
I love that SpaceX is achieving feats that were previously thought impossible by a private space company. The disappointment many have felt for years with the space industry is being replaced by hope from SpaceX, trying to do what no one has done before.
Getting to know people on the inside, literally on the inside of these boosters and ships working 14 hour days, I know that this is not some farce or vaporware technology, and I believe soon, the whole world will acknowledge that.”
What have been some of the biggest challenges that you have faced while pursuing a career in space journalism?
“Certainly transitioning from a bustling newsroom with endless resources but little creative control, to doing it on your own with full creative license, but starting from scratch in terms of gear and resources. There is also the up-and-down creator revenue that every creator must account for.
But I believe in my mission as much as I believe in space being the answer to many of our woes. So I am learning to adjust to the challenges. “Adapt and overcome” is true of anything you do in life.”
How has your work in the space industry changed your perspective on the world?
“The brilliant people I’ve met in this industry have inspired me to better myself, mentally and to challenge myself more. People who work in the space industry are imaginative and have this incredible work ethic. I also see our world as fragile, more fragile than before. And feel a sense of urgency to get past the Karman line and really try to put heavy industry into space.
I see a future where we work in space. Seeing a Falcon Heavy land rocket boosters turns fiction into reality, and I think we will see the same with concepts like going to Mars and O’Neill Cylinders soon.
If you had the opportunity to go on one of those private space flights, would you take it?
“I feel like it would be a missed once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to, but as someone who white-knuckles any sort of turbulence on a plane, I can guarantee I’d probably be quite nervous going. But I would.”
Do you have any advice for women interested in pursuing a career in this male-dominated space?
“It is a male-dominated space, and it’s probably a very complex answer as to WHY that is. It could start as young as what toys were given to play with, or it could be a lack of confidence issue. If I knew where I’d be today covering this field full-time, I would have completely taken a different approach to school, and probably had a different major and focus of study.
I think there was a part of me that just felt I was unqualified or not intelligent enough to understand this stuff. But with the internet even, there is so much you can learn, from so many different people! It’s a matter of finding a teacher that fits your style and relly applying yourself.
So I suppose if I could give the advice to myself, I would tell myself that I can do anything I put my mind to, and to simply try. But I see so many more women in STEM today than when I was growing up, and it is truly a joy to see.
I have interviewed some incredible women on my channel and I have great respect for anyone who takes on a career in a field dominated by men.”