A Note from Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham
The past year was a transformational one for the Space Foundation. During 2012, we realized the accomplishment of some long-term goals; became a more diverse and global organization; launched new projects that will serve us for years to come; and faced some unprecedented challenges.
Let's get the unpleasantries out of the way first: On the local front, we weathered the devastating Waldo Canyon fire, which came dangerously close to our headquarters, personally affected many of our team members and deeply affected our community. On the national front, we watched as our partners struggled with budget cuts, political infighting, space policy uncertainty and the threat of even more significant restrictions and cutbacks in 2013. We are working closely with elected officials and government organizations to stave off the kind of draconian actions that could have a chilling effect on U.S. space endeavors. Never before has our mission of advancing space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity been more important.
Despite last year's tough economic and political environment, it was a good year for space and a good year for us. The 28th National Space Symposium was the largest and most diverse in our history, with almost 40 nations represented, more than 9,000 participants and a mind-boggling array of speakers and associated events. The Space Report 2012, which we released in April, showed that the global space economy continues to grow - and that more and more nations are becoming spacefarers. This trend, coupled with our aggressive international outreach, has made us a truly global organization - a fact that is reflected in every program we offer, every event we organize and every decision we make about our future.
The future continues to be of utmost importance to us. That's why we devote considerable resources to educate the workforce of tomorrow. That's why our New Generation Space Leaders Initiatives continue to grow. And, that's why one of the many long-term objectives we achieved in 2012 was the release of PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space. This well-researched, carefully constructed report lays out what we believe is the best path for NASA's future - a plan that will strengthen the U.S. civil space program and, in so doing, greatly improve the global outlook for space exploration and utilization.
Another long-term dream realized was the opening of our Visitors Center - a world-class facility that comprises the Northrop Grumman Science Center with its glorious Science On a Sphere® and the El Pomar Space Gallery that exhibits just a small fraction of our space artifacts collection. The process of creating and opening this facility at our Colorado Springs world headquarters brought us closer to our community, to our corporate members and benefactors and to each other. And the most exciting part is that it's just the beginning. There's a whole lot more to come.
The opening of the Northrop Grumman Science Center changed the complexion of our education endeavors as well. We made a commitment early on that our Science On a Sphere would be more than just a tourist attraction (although, believe me, it is that, too!). We use it as the centerpiece for a series of classes that we call Sphere that represent our first major large-scale direct-to-students space-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S-STEM) program. And, just like our other dreams, it's just the beginning. These programs and this facility have laid the groundwork for future expansion including a teaching facility with distance-learning capabilities that will extend our reach around the globe.
As you read through this Annual Report, you'll be amazed at the quantity and caliber of things we accomplished - all a testament to our extraordinary team. They grew and matured as we accomplished milestone after milestone in 2012. We all learned new skills. We forged new relationships. We added and promoted many team members. I was particularly pleased to promote Chuck Zimkas from chief operating officer to president in recognition of his combined Air Force and Space Foundation experience and accomplishments.
For the Space Foundation, 2012 could be characterized as difficult or triumphant. We choose triumphant.
Elliot Holokauahi Pulham
Chief Executive Officer