The View From Here: Optimism, Enthusiasm and Commitment to our Mission
It's not like we didn't have anything else to do.
While summer conjures up images of lazy days, trips to the beach and warm evenings at the baseball park, for the Space Foundation it is a busy time of year.
June always means a couple of weeks in Vienna for our government affairs and international affairs teams, participating as the industry representative on the United States delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. And, for the fourth year in a row, June has meant co-hosting the "Space for UK Defense & Security" conference with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. June is also when we kick off our summer Space Across the Curriculum courses - intensive, week-long, accredited educator professional development programs that really ramp up in July.
So, why not relocate our corporate headquarters while we're at it?
The new HQ is a really big deal for us. It is going to allow us to pursue our mission -"to advance space endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity" - more vigorously and with greater impact than ever before. We want you all to be part of the adventure.
More about that later.
The Space Foundation is fundamentally an educating organization. Whether creating cutting-edge professional events such as the National Space Symposium, testifying before Congress or conducting issue-related informational forums for elected and appointed officials and their staffs; whether it is researching and publishing The Space Report, topical white papers or our widely distributed Introduction to Space Activities; or the countless media interviews we do in support of space-related current events - our organization was founded to educate and inform, and we do it with passion.
Nowhere, however, does the rubber meet the road like it does in our formal, academic programs, which hit Max-Q in the summer.
This summer our dedicated team of teachers, presenters, technical experts and evaluators kicked things off at their home base at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs where they taught educator professional development graduate-level courses in robotics, nanotechnology, Earth systems science, rocketry, astronomy and early childhood space exploration. Then they traveled to Colorado State University-Pueblo, where both active teachers and undergraduate students in the school of education participated in a week-long course in "Lunar/Mars Exploration and Base Construction." The education team also conducted seven week-long courses for educators in Charles County (Md.) Public Schools.
The team returns to the Washington, D.C., area in August, and will be conducting educator professional development programs at the innovative, charter school The SEED School and at the D.C. Public Schools' flagship Jefferson Middle School.
We're teamed with NASA and other partners in education-related events in Alaska and Wisconsin, planning for September events in Hawai'i and we hope to announce a pilot program with one of our Asian partners soon.
So, no time like the present - with our near 100 degree (F) summer high desert temperatures - to uproot the entire headquarters team and move into new digs! Phase 1 renovations to our new headquarters at 4425 Arrowswest Drive in Colorado Springs went right down to the wire, but our certificate of occupancy was issued only a half-day behind schedule and our crosstown move was on.
I learned a couple of things in the process. First, if we think we sometimes have schedule problems in the space industry, you haven't seen anything until you're dealing with the construction industry. "Slide to the right" seems to be, if not a mantra, at least a happily whistled tune. For people like me, who get OCD about schedule and budget, a major construction project will just about put you out of your mind. Second, just because a business is called "Two Men and a Truck," don't take it literally. The low bidder on our move showed up with about 20 men and a dozen trucks, an ant-like army that swarmed over our "stuff" and had us moved in a jiffy.
The Space Foundation is in a choice neighborhood now - one of Colorado Springs' leading high-tech corridors. Our neighbors include companies like Agilent, Entegris, LSI Logic, Verizon and so on. But more importantly, we have plenty of room to grow in the pursuit of our mission. Thanks to the generosity of our community, our 45,700 square-foot home was entirely donated to us, free and clear, no debt. That arrangement has allowed us to focus our resources on creating headquarters that are a community and industry asset, which will advance our mission through vastly increased public visibility, outreach and engagement.
A fiscally conservative organization, the Space Foundation is taking a "go as you can afford to pay" approach to renovations. In Phase 1, we've met the basic operational needs of the organization. We're also near completion of our first public asset - the Jasper Ackerman Conference Center. The Ackerman Center will serve our internal needs for conference space, but will also be made available to our customers and other nonprofit organizations in the community.
Still to come are the El Pomar Gallery - a modest, but museum-quality space visitor center - and education laboratories that will add to the capabilities of our Space Foundation Discovery Institute, just across town.
A volunteer team of aerospace executives is busy working with our customers to identify space artifacts, hardware, models, mockups, simulators and interactive displays for the El Pomar Gallery. Because this visitor center is not a museum, we welcome both legacy displays and future concepts that open the aperture of our imagination of where space programs can take us. Gayle White, recently retired from CSC, leads the collections committee and would love to hear from you ([email protected]) if you or your organization have something to contribute. Please consider us as a permanent home for your surplus or end-of-program equipment. You'll get great recognition - we're located fronting Garden of the Gods Road, one of the city's most traveled routes and gateway to Colorado Springs' most-visited attraction, Garden of the Gods Park. We expect to grant special access to the El Pomar Gallery to our men and women in uniform and their families, from Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB, Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountain AFS, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Buckley AFB.
Because the Space Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the value of your contribution may be tax deductible. And because we are located in one of Colorado's premier Enterprise Zones, donors may also be eligible for Colorado tax credits.
Of course, putting together a world-class facility will take time and require cash. For example, one of our first education priorities is the installation of a NOAA Science on a Sphere teaching laboratory - about a quarter-million-dollar proposition all in all. Your tax deductible donations can be made easily online via the nonprofit portal GuideStar, at www2.guidestar.org/organizations/31-1653556/united-states-space-foundation-colorado/donate.aspx
If you're considering a legacy gift, or a larger contribution that might qualify for naming rights or other benefits, please feel free to call me, or Space Foundation Development Manager Margo Hatton, at (719) 576-8000.
We've just settled in and "pardon our dust" activities will continue for some time. Yet, we've already hosted news media, community leaders and elected officials. We're excited about the platform we are creating to "inspire, enable and propel" our community, our industry and visitors from around the world.
The View from Here is one of renewed optimism, enthusiasm and commitment to our mission. We hope that you'll be part of this exciting journey.
Special thanks to those who have already stepped forward with amazing support: The El Pomar Foundation, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Anna Keesling Ackerman Fund, the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation, the E.L and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, the Anschutz Foundation and Scott Bryan.
Elliot Holokauahi Pulham
Chief Executive Officer