I started Spaceflight101 to cover current news in space flight from a unique, highly technical perspective with focus on the nuts-and-bolts kinda stuff - going down to obsessive details and specifics on spacecraft and rockets. Naturally, this type of site is buried in a faraway niche of the Internet and will not see visitation numbers like popular news sites. To my delight, since the project's beginnings in late 2010, the site's readership has grown consistently and Spaceflight101 has become a source of reliable information for space enthusiasts, students enrolled in engineering disciplines and even professionals working in space-related fields.
Given the site's very specific nature, covering its running cost through advertising has always been a challenge. Patreon offers a great opportunity for supporters to directly contribute to the project, allowing me to afford better server equipment and devote more time to creating in-depth content. Your direct support will not be without other benefits, of course.
Hosting: Right now, Spaceflight101 has a fairly reliable server setup for the daily crowd of visitors, but overall, the current server is pretty crappy. Regular readers will have seen outages during launch events and the occasional Reddit wave brought the site to its knees (and me to the edge of insanity trying to revive the server). Moving to a better server is a big goal for the near-future.
Me: Ideally, I'd like to take on this project full-time, so a modest income on my part would be needed to keep the lights on, Internet going, coffee brewing and a cold beer in the fridge... Every pledge given to this project frees up more time to focus on making the best content I possibly can.
The Future: I'd love to make Spaceflight101 appealing to a broader audience with an actual 101 section where complex principles of spaceflight and rocketry are broken down into understandable terms and presented using multiple media formats. For the obsessive space geeks, expansion of the site would include adding a comprehensive database that I have been assembling over the past ten years (covering rocket & engine specs, all-time launch data, and much more).
Part-time Help: Believe it or not, Spaceflight101 has been a one-man show for the most part. That means much of my time is spent dealing with server maintenance, site upkeep, legalities and advertising on the site. This amounts to a good few hours a week that I'd much rather spend researching and creating technical content. A part-time employee would be a huge help dealing with these things and other little jobs that amass throughout the week. Even better would be full-time help from another space nut with actual writing skills to improve the quality of articles posted to the site beyond my basic understanding of the English language ;)
A fully ad-free experience on Spaceflight101.com
In return for pledging $3 or more, you get to enjoy the website stripped of all ads. Advertising has been a huge dilemma for me - I want readers to have a good experience navigating the site, but somehow the bills have to be paid, too. Trying to select ad-networks with halfway decent pay and non-intrusive ads has become a losing battle and problems with rogue ads are only going to grow.
For a dime a day, you will be able to enjoy the site with faster load times and without distracting advertisements.
I have reconsidered the Spaceflight101 Member Area idea and decided against hiding content behind a paywall for two reasons - a) my available time will not permit the creation of additional content and b) the website in its entirety should be available to all readers without the hassle of a ringfenced area with an audience of maybe a dozen people. Those who pledge $5 and more will still receive member area access with the current content and any future additions if I manage to come up with worthwhile content for this particular niche...
I sincerely appreciate any support you can offer.
[If you are interested in supporting the site through ad placements, feel free to contact me for info on available ad placements, site visitation, etc...]