The 26th National Space Symposium Blasts Off in Colorado Springs 2010-4-13

PM ChangeAgent Commentary

The opening ceremony for the National Space Symposium April 12, 2010 was an excellent kick-off for this largest-ever four-day event. With over 8,000 participants, and a standing room only crowd in the Colorado Springs, Colorado Broadmoor Hotel’s International Center, the proceedings soared with the venue. All sessions and events were fully sold-out.

Although called the National Space Symposium, this event attracts participants and featured honorees from all over the World. The Space Foundation, organizers of the National Space Symposium, strives to highlight Space achievements of all nations. The nature of the proceedings, audience and announcements demonstrate that global interest:

  • The event moderator, Space Foundation CEO Elliot Pulham, acknowledged the anniversary of the first human in space, Russian Yuri Gagarin, on April 12 1961; and many other notable April space events.
  • China’s first man in space: The Symposium crowd honored Yang Liwei, China’s first man in space, October 15, 2003, who stood for the applause of the audience.
  • Of great significance was the very long ovation for the Poland trade delegation’s representatives, out of respect for their tragic airplane crash and loss of lives the weekend before the event.

In addition to stellar performances by the Canadian string ensemble Barrage, the Opening Ceremony, sponsored by Northrop Grumman, focused upon awards and recognition. Those awards included:

    • The Alan Shepard Technology In Education Award. This award  is for outstanding contributions made by K-12 educators or district level personnel to educational technology. The award recognizes excellence in the development and application of technology in the classroom or to the professional development of teachers. The award was made to Allen V. Robnett, a science teacher at Gallatin High School in Gallatin, Tenn. See the press release with the details of Mr. Robnett’s achievements. Of special note was Mr. Robnett’s humility in accepting the award, acknowledging the thousands of teachers who contribute just as much.

  • The John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration honors a Colorado astronaut.  The mission that proved the presence of water on the Moon is the 2010 recipient of this award. The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission team demonstrated exquisite collaboration between government and industry teams to produce otherwise-unobtainable results within an impossible schedule, at an unrealistic level of funding. See the Press Release here.
  • The Space Achievement Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have demonstrated breakthrough space technology, or program or product success representing critical milestones in the evolution of space exploration and development. This award went to the most spectacular repair call in the history of mankind, the historic Hubble Space Telescope Repair Mission. The 11-day repair mission included five grueling spacewalks, totaling 37 hours, in which the astronaut-mechanics, wearing bulky gloves and spacesuits, completed exceptionally complex repairs. See the Press Release for more details, and the participating organizations.

Other insights and take-aways from this event include: 1) Seldom have we seen such a combination of top military and industry leaders of some of the best-known space exploration companies in the World. 2) We were surprised to learn that the Global Space Economy grew 40% over the last five years, and 8% over the last year, even with the severe downturn in the economy. 3) The dual Exhibition areas, filled with over 100 booths (the reusable grocery bags and light sabers were the most-popular give-aways) were crowded with eager buyers of everything from advanced avionics to space landing modules.

The Opening Ceremony is just the beginning of this key event. Even here, we heard multiple mentions of portfolios, programs and projects; of program and project management as the driving disciplines of new frontiers. And the program for the ensuing three days shows additional insights, sharing of discoveries, and most importantly, the power of collaboration and international cooperation in challenging times.

About the Space Foundation
Mission: To advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity.

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 26 years since its founding, the Space Foundation has become one of the world’s premier nonprofit organizations supporting space activities, space professionals and education. The Foundation’s education programs have touched teachers in all 50 U.S. states and Germany. It conducts the premier event for space professionals anywhere in the world today: the National Space Symposium, and the Strategic Space Symposium.

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