YIR: Space Foundation
by Elliot G. Pulham, President & CEO
2008: Despite the downturn in the general economy, the global space industry grew 11 percent to more than $251 billion in revenues in 2007, according to the Space Foundations annual The Space Report 2008: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity. While general financial markets faced great upheaval during 2008, forward momentum continued in the space industry and the Space Foundations operations reflected this momentum throughout the calendar year.
The Space Foundations signature event, the National Space Symposium, continued its 24-year pattern of unabated growth as the premier annual space industry event in the world. Importantly, the Foundations education enterprise, which is tackling the daunting challenges of reforming and revolutionizing education while preparing a technically savvy workforce of the future, launched numerous new programs and experienced significant growth during the year. The Space Foundation brand continues to gain recognition as the preeminent nonprofit brand in the space industry as this hybrid operating foundation continues to apply new resources to meet the challenges in service to industry, education, research and analysis, public information and outreach, public policy, technology transfer, and more.
This year, the Space Foundation succeeded in multiple areas of service to the industry. The Foundations corporate membership base continued to grow in 2008, rapidly approaching 100 member companies representing the major players from all sectors of the space industry civil, commercial, national security space, entrepreneurial space, as well as space finance and support. The 24th National Space Symposium, held in April at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, set new attendance records with participating companies reporting a record level of deal making. The event itself generated record revenues for the Foundation, which in turn supported the organizations education, policy, and other initiatives. Space Business Forum: New York debuted in New York City in June as a new venture aiming to bridge the gap between the space industry and the financial industry. Despite market chaos, a capacity crowd turned out for the event, which promises to become a critically important link between the industry and those who finance its growth. In the face of great political and economic uncertainty at the time, the Foundations military space event Strategic Space and Defense 2008 was once again acclaimed as a critical success. Many who attended the Omaha conference in support of U.S. Strategic Command ranked it as the highest-quality outing for the event in its six-year history.
On the education front, the Space Foundation completed numerous feats from a highly anticipated online laboratory program for students to conducting a record number of professional development programs for teachers. This summer, the Foundation conducted nine week-long Space Discovery Institute programs (five in Colorado Springs, Colo. and four in Charles County, Md) which gave teachers hands-on experience and a space-based curriculum to introduce science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) into their classrooms. Teachers earn continuing education credit and/or graduate college credits applicable toward several space-specialist masters degrees offered by the Foundation and its academic partners. The Foundation also launched its STARS in-classroom program for students, which has quickly been 100 percent subscribed for the 2008-2009 school year. More than 600 teachers downloaded more than 4,100 lesson plans from the Foundations Educators National Standards & Lesson Bank online. The increased momentum in Space Foundation education programs looks to carry forward into 2009. At least 15 Space Discovery Institute sessions are planned for summer 2009 and that number is likely to grow to 20 or more by this spring. The Foundation has increased its Maryland offerings by 50 percent, launched a new program with the Chester Uplands School district in Pennsylvania, and struck up a new partnership with Colorado Springs School District 11 to provide professional development for the exciting new Galileo STEM magnet school.
Public education also gained velocity during 2008. The Space Foundations research and analysis team successfully repositioned its annual The Space Report by moving publication forward six months to April, giving The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity longer shelf life and a larger audience. The report has quickly become the global standard reference on the industry. Also during 2008, research and analysis evolved the Space Foundation Index, which tracks the market performance of space companies, into a trio of indices for use by industry analysts. Another significant accomplishment was publication of the Foundations landmark White Paper ITAR and the U.S. Space Industry. The paper laid out a comprehensive, common-sense baseline description of the challenges faced by industry due to the U.S. restrictions on trade in space technologies and provided straightforward approaches to bringing space export controls into alignment with technical, financial, and market realities.
Meanwhile, the Space Foundation Correspondents Group (SFCG) hosted a series of monthly meetings for Washington, D.C.-based news media with space industry opinion leaders and decision makers, giving a broader group of trade and general media reporters and editors access to some of the most important decision-makers in our industry and creating more space news than ever before. The SFCG continues to meet monthly, with a year-end lineup that includes Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland (key appropriations and intelligence assignments in the Congress) and Gen. James Cartwright, USMC, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In January, the SFCG will kick off the new year by hosting NASA Administrator Mike Griffin.
2008 was likewise a busy year for the Space Foundation on the policy front. Its government affairs team hosted four meetings of the Congressional Space Power Caucus, a bi-partisan and bi-cameral caucus of members supporting a strong U.S. space posture. The Foundation continued its role as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, participating in United Nations meetings in Vienna. The Foundation participated in the first Global Summit on Space Exploration in Beijing and is a signatory to the Beijing Declaration. In London, the Foundation teamed with RUSI, the Royal United Services Institute, in presenting the first ever RUSI Space for Security and Defense meeting in Whitehall, London.
Highlighting the year were two Space Foundation-led Space Jam events at the Democratic and Republican Presidential Nominating Conventions in Denver, Colo., and St. Paul, Minn., respectively. Supported by a diverse group of for-profit and nonprofit entities representing all sectors of the space community, these Space Jam events effectively educated Democratic and Republican leaders on the contributions that space makes to our quality of life and the importance of the space industry to global security, research and development, and education. Throughout the course of the recently-concluded presidential campaigns, the Space Foundation provided policy guidance, industry data, and background to both campaigns and parties.
2009: The Space Foundation continues to grow in service to the global space community. 2008 was another banner year for the organization, which continues to position itself as the essential link connecting all sectors of the industry with each other, with policy makers, with the financial community, with students and educators, and with the general public around the world. Its mission is To advance space endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity. It is a big mission, but one the organization approaches daily with great enthusiasm from its offices in Colorado Springs, Washington, D.C., Cape Canaveral, and Houston. This small but powerful can do organization is poised to continue growing in 2009, and is already teaming with space industry partners from around the world to help take the space community to ever higher heights in the year to come.
About the author
Mr. Pulham was named president and chief executive officer of the Space Foundation in 2001. Pulham leads the premier team of space and education professionals providing services to educators and students, government officials, news media, and the space industry around the world. He is widely quoted by national, international, and trade media in their coverage of space activities and space-related issues. Before joining the Foundation, he was senior manager of public relations, employee communication, and advertising for all space programs of Boeing, serving as spokesperson at the Kennedy Space Center for the Magellan, Galileo, and Ulysses interplanetary missions, among others. He is a recipient of the coveted Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America - the profession's highest honor. In 2003, the Rotary National Awards for Space Achievement Foundation presented him with the coveted Space Communicator Award, an honor he shares with legendary CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite and CNN News Anchor Miles O’Brien.
About the organization
In 1983, a small group of visionary leaders in Colorado Springs saw a need to establish an organization that could, in a non-partisan, objective and fair manner, bring together the various sectors of America's developing space community and serve as a credible source of information for a broad audience - from space professionals to the general public. The Space Foundation was founded March 21, 1983, as an IRS 501 (c)(3) organization "to foster, develop and promote, among the citizens of the United States of America and among other people of the world ... a greater understanding and awareness ... of the practical and theoretical utilization of space ... for the benefit of civilization and the fostering of peaceful and prosperous world." As the global space community has evolved, so has the Space Foundation - embracing all facets of space - commercial (including telecommunications and other satellite-based services), civil, and national security. In fact, the Foundation is one of few space-related organizations that embraces the totality of this community rather than focusing on a narrowly defined niche. In the 25 years since its founding, the Space Foundation has become one of the world's premier nonprofit organizations supporting space activities, space professionals and education.