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Space Foundation — YEAR IN REVIEW

Pulham + SpaceFound logo The Space Foundation saw a number of triumphs and accomplishments during the past year that moved the organization even further as the leading advocate for space.

With more than 8,000 attendees, including space and defense professionals, educators, students, exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors, the 25th National Space Symposium was the largest and most successful to date. Held in early spring at The Broadmoor Hotel near the Space Foundation’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, the four-day event featured presentations from top-level U.S. and international space leaders, including the secretary of the Air Force, commanders of the Air Force Space Command and the U.S. Strategic Command, leaders from the European, Japanese, and Chinese space agencies, and major commercial space industry leaders. The Space Foundation honored space pioneers and leaders, including Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, former Under Secretary of the Air Force Peter Teets, the Phoenix Mars Lander team, China’s Shenzhou 7 Space Mission, and a Florida educator who brings space to kids through innovative hands-on activities. The sold-out exhibit center gave insight into the latest and greatest in space technology and provided an excellent venue for networking and deal-making. Students and teachers benefited from training sessions, tours, visits with astronauts, and a space career fair. And, the Space Technology Hall of Fame inducted two diverse space inventions that make life on Earth better: aerodynamic vehicle design and algae-based food supplements.

The 25th National Space Symposium also marked the publication of The Space Report 2009: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, the Space Foundation’s comprehensive space overview. Packed with useful information, the publication covers global space budgets and revenues, space technology and applications, workforce and wage information, and space education issues. In addition, The Space Report includes space industry forecasts and an analysis of broader trends that will shape the course of space activity in years to come. As 2009 nears its close, the Space Foundation is already preparing for an even more exciting 26th National Space Symposium, to be held April 12-15 at The Broadmoor. For details, go to www.nationalspacesymposium.org/about-the-show.

The Space Foundation’s education programs grew tremendously in 2009. The Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, an aerospace-themed middle school, was created through a partnership between the Space Foundation and Colorado Springs (Colorado) School District 11 (D-11). The school, which opened in August with more than 500 students, uses aerospace themes and principles to build student proficiency in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. It is named in honor of Colorado native and Apollo astronaut John L. “Jack” Swigert.

The Academy campus is also home to the Space Foundation Discovery Institute — the Space Foundation’s brand new national professional development center and education destination for teachers and students from around the world. The Space Foundation Discovery Institute houses classrooms, a NASA Educator Resource Center, and, eventually, three major laboratories: a simulated space mission operations center to open in early 2010; a simulated Martian terrain laboratory in early 2011; and a Science on a Sphere facility in early 2012.

A third major change in the Space Foundation’s educational offerings was the introduction of Space Across the Curriculum. These week-long, graduate-level, in-residence courses provide PreK-12 educators with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content that is instantly transferable to the classroom. The class schedules have grown to include courses targeted to specific groups during the school year.

The Space Foundation has long believed — and actively communicated — that meaningful space exploration and development require nations to bridge political gaps and work together. This year, the organization strengthened U.S. relationships with the Chinese space program. The initiative began with the Space Foundation’s presentation of the Space Achievement Award to China’s Shenzhou 7 Mission at the 25th National Space Symposium. This historic first visit to the U.S. by the head of China’s Manned Space Program, Dr. Zhou Jianping, and Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang, led to an invitation to tour China’s major space installations. In September, Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham led a delegation to China and visited several China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) sites and the production facilities where the Shenzhou 8 spacecraft, TANG-1 spacecraft, and various satellites are in assembly, as well as the China Astronaut Research and Training Center. At the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the delegation toured the launch control center, vehicle assembly building, and launch pad. Delegation members were the first Westerners to visit many of the Chinese facilities.

Further emphasizing international cooperation in space, the Space Foundation released two white papers in 2009. The International Space Station: Decision 2015 strongly recommends that the United States keep the International Space Station (ISS) functioning until at least 2020 and beyond, if possible. Solutions from Space: Space Applications for International Development says that space-based technology can overcome infrastructure and access issues and help solve economic, public health, and standard of living issues for developing nations.

Space Found banner As part of its mission to bring together interested parties to discuss critical space issues, the Space Foundation hosted two additional gatherings in 2009. Space Business Forum: New York brought leaders from the public and private sectors together in an intimate setting to discuss the future of the space industry. The Strategic Space Symposium, presented through a Space Foundation/United States Strategic Command partnership, brought together 1,800 attendees in Omaha, Nebraska, for a creative interchange between the private sector and the government on challenging space operations and warfighter issues.

As is the case with all Space Foundation programs, these two events created an environment where space leaders could build relationships to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity.