Successful 26th National Space Symposium

Exhibit Center Active

Roughly 9,000 people from 20 countries attended the 26th National Space Symposium, breaking all attendance records! The exhibit halls were sold out months in advance. The new sub-events/programs (Cyber 1.0, and New Generation Initiative programs were filled up before the event. There were top notch speakers, panels, and new fun twists.

Organized and launched by the Space Foundation, the National Space Symposium is the Foundation's largest event of the year. It brings all branches of military, industry, government (including NASA and others), educators, and students all into one place at the same time. Aspects of the Symposium include sessions and panels featuring influential speakers, two packed exhibit halls, four major space awards given, and huge opportunities for networking. It also takes place at an amazing venue (in my humble opinion), The Broadmoor Hotel.

Opening Ceremony Storm Troopers
Photo taken by Bonnie Grihalva

Amanda joined me for the 26h National Space Symposium kickoff, the opening ceremony. We were greeted by the Imperial forces (hired by the Space Foundation this year for crowd control). Opening music was performed by Barrage, followed by announcements and a brief overview of the space industry this year by Space Foundation CEO, Elliot Pulham.

Three awards were awarded; the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award presented to Mr. Allen V. Robnett, the Space Achievement Award presented to the Hubble Space Telescope Repair Mission Team, and the John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration, presented to the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission team.

You can watch the videos of these awards being given here.

Kids complete circuits
Photo taken by Luciana Mendes

Much of my time was spent building and managing digital signage throughout the Broadmoor, making web updates, locating video, and assisting where needed. I also spent time at the Space Foundation booth, where I was able to meet some amazing people and have fun with visitors.

The Space Foundation Education team brought in wooden boxes with batteries, wires, and light bulbs. Visitors had fun putting their hands in rubber gloves in the boxes, trying to complete an electrical circuit. This excellent contribution allowed us to engage visitors and discuss our programs while their hands were stuck in a box (plus they received a prize if they could complete the circuit!). Many kids, and kids at heart alike participated as they wandered by.

The boxes are one of the many activity examples the Space Foundation Education team (and their select Teacher Liaisons) educate with, to help teachers make education more engaging for their students.

What's in the box?

Teachers and students from Galileo, a science and math focused middle school in Colorado Springs, helped at the Space Foundation booth. Galileo participants were also joined by teachers and students from the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, a public STEM/aerospace focused middle school that the Space Foundation helped launch in conjunction with District 11. They did an excellent job in engaging visitors, and it was great to see some familiar faces (I drove some of the teachers up a mountain for post-grad education training with the Space Foundation).

Student Tours

Select students from Galileo and JSAA were invited to take tours of the exhibit center. Exhibitors gave demos and spoke about their part of the space industry, giving students an idea of what the space industry is all about. Students were also able to attend an 'Audience with an Astronaut'.

Student Tour Robot Interview

Lockheed Martin had a talking robot that quizzed the students. Several of the booths had great interactive features. NASA topped the cake education-wise in my opinion. They even had a Nintendo Wii game on-site that let people learn about space technology in the home!

Storm troopers chatting

"How's the economy in Jagga VII these days?"

"We've experienced a 9% growth in the space industry throughout the galaxy this year."

The Symposium wasn't just all work and no play for many. Wednesday night after official happenings, various industry leaders hosted classy get-togethers throughout the Broadmoor campus. The storm troopers were out once again as attendees moved from place to place, enjoying food, diverse atmospheres, networking, and good times.

Storm troopers of all sorts
Photo taken by random kind person

From left to right: dirty storm trooper, storm trooper, Luciana, robust storm trooper, me, flashy storm trooper, Amanda

Amanda joined me once again in the company of co-workers Luciana and her husband Eduardo, and Paul and his wife Grace. We had the opportunity to relax a bit and meet some interesting people as we wandered around.

R2D2
Photo taken by Luciana Mendes

R2D2 was there!

Hanging Out with Darth
Photo taken by Luciana Mendes

Darth was pitching joining the dark side. Not this time.

Harris party
Photo taken by complete stranger: very nice guy he was

We picked up some cool glasses and feathers at Harris's 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame' themed party. Every gathering was different. Some quiet, geared towards quiet networking. The Boeing party had techno music playing, with drinks served in blue blinking glasses. Raytheon had a classy modern style lounge with tasty unique treats (while they lasted).

Blue
Photo taken by Luciana Mendes

We stopped by a life size satellite model. Those things are much bigger than what you think you see in the pictures!

Men in black... and blue
Photo taken by Luciana Mendes

Men in black.... and blue... Paul on the left, Eduardo on the right, and I

fireworks

A great fireworks show accompanied by Mannheim Steamroller music made for a great evening finish (for a few of us anyway: we had to work the next day). Beforehand, we did a little stargazing and observed Saturn (rings, moons and all!). Thanks to the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society for bringing the telescopes!

Leonard Nimoy accepts Lifetime Achievement Award at Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner
Photo taken by Luciana Mendes

One of the final events for the Symposium was the Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner. This is also where Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek's Spock) accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award, and gave a great speech (Check out the video here). I enjoyed hearing about the history of his life and how he ended up where he did (will have to check out his terrible early films containing zombies from one of the atmospheric layers).

Afterward, my mind was nearly scrambled eggs, and I had blisters on my blisters. I felt that suits were not the thing to wear for quite some time moving forward (I like to be casual). However I felt satisfied that the event was a success, and was amazed at all that was accomplished by all the Space Foundation team. I joined others at the Golden Bee for a couple beers and chicken pot pie to celebrate. Others attended the celebration of new generation initiatives where there was some great dancing to be had (some dark beer and little movement as possible was ideal for me heh).

I feel the Space Foundation did an overwhelmingly awesome job getting this event put together. I'm very proud and pleased to work with a group of people who are truly passionate about what they do, and how they work with each other to get things done. After about a week of reclaiming my brain and toes, I'm excitedly looking forward to the next Space Foundation adventure!

Check out official info here (this is just a blog after all).

Watch videos from the event here.

About Christopher Stevens

Me, wearing a tieChristopher is a web developer/designer who loves renovating and empowering over-sized web projects and exploring the unknown. He is powered by coffee, electrons, and passionate people.

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"For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you."
--Neil deGrasse Tyson