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Space Foundation launches `Ascent` Program

04/08/2003

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Apr. 9, 2003) -- The Space Foundation announced today a new educational initiative called the Ascent program, designed to stimulate interest among college level students in pursuing high technology careers in the aerospace industry. The Ascent program offers students a one-of-a-kind fellowship for academic needs and unique experiences in various aerospace venues.

The genesis for the program was a discussion between Lockheed Martin and the Space Foundation about the importance of ensuring the availability of a highly skilled workforce for future aerospace industry requirements. Lockheed Martin will fund the charter year of the program with a contribution of $50,000. The Space Foundation will administer the program and seek ongoing support from other industry partners.

"The greatest challenge facing the space industry today is the pending shortage of high technology talent in the aerospace work force," said Elliot G. Pulham, president and chief executive officer of the Space Foundation. "Lockheed Martin's leadership in launching this initiative helps create new ways to engage and inspire the next generation. We invite all space organizations to join us in addressing this challenge."

"We are excited about the concept of the Ascent program and the opportunity to show students an insider's view of the stimulating work that the space business affords," said Al Smith, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Space Foundation Board Member. "Attracting talented young people into our industry is critical to ensuring a seamless transition as new national priorities emerge. It is essential that the aerospace industry join forces to meet this important goal."

The Space Foundation will release selection criteria and application guidelines later this year. The inaugural year for the Ascent fellowships is 2004. The first group of students selected will attend the 20th National Space Symposium on March 29 April 1, 2004.

Widely regarded as the premier conference for space professionals anywhere in the world today, the National Space Symposium is the only space-related conference to fully integrate all sectors of space commercial, civil and national security while attracting more than 4,000 participants.

The Ascent program is the latest Space Foundation effort to advance and support educational excellence. The Foundation offers two distinct Masters in Space Studies Degrees in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Regis University.

The Space Foundation has also trained more than 20,000 teachers since 1986 on Teaching With Space through Space Discovery graduate courses and national conferences. All courses and conferences meet state and national educational standards, with optional graduate credit available. The Space Foundation offers an on-site NASA Education Resource Center, which helps educators access and use science, mathematics, and technology instruction products aligned with national standards and appropriate state frameworks based on NASA's unique mission and results. For more information or to get a complete schedule of upcoming educational events, visit www.spacefoundation.org/education or call 1-800-691-4000.

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