Space Foundation News

Special Events Mark Opening of Space Foundation Visitors Center

Written by: developer

During World Space Week, the Space Foundation celebrated the grand opening of the Northrop Grumman Science Center, featuring Science On a Sphere® (SOS) at our world headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Funded by a $375,000 donation from Space Foundation platinum-level corporate partner Northrop Grumman Corp., the science center and teaching lab has classroom/laboratory facilities, including Science On a Sphere, for pre-kindergarten through graduate-level courses, educator professional development, educational multimedia events and presentations for the general public.

We held several events marking the first major step in the development of our new Space Foundation Visitors Center, which comprises the Northrop Grumman Science Center and the El Pomar Space Gallery.

Grand Opening Ribbon-Cutting

The first official event was on Fri., Oct 5, when more than 100 community leaders, Northrop Grumman corporate leaders and Space Foundation team members attended a grand opening that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a tour of the El Pomar Space Gallery and a luncheon.

“The future of space exploration begins at facilities like the Northrop Grumman Science Center. The activities here will inspire and educate people of all ages and set some of them out on careers that will make their dreams of future space missions a reality,” said Gary Ervin, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (pictured, below left). “This Center will be a place where the community can come together to engage and educate young people and inspire America’s future generations of engineers and scientists.”

“The Space Foundation has long dreamed of creating a space where we can offer students and visitors an extraordinary educational experience. Northrop Grumman made it possible for us to do this very quickly and in a spectacular way,” said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham. “We are thrilled that, through this collaboration, we are offering teachers and students a compelling platform for STEM education and we are launching a new visitor destination in northwest Colorado Springs at time when the community needs it.”

See photos from Northrop Grumman Science Center Grand Opening here.

Northrop Grumman Family Day

The following day, we thanked Northrop Grumman for its generosity with a family celebration in the Space Foundation Visitors Center.

More than 300 Northrop Grumman employees and their families toured the exhibits in the El Pomar Space Gallery (pictured, below left), watched SOS demonstrations, participated in educational activities for kids of all ages (pictured, below middle) and met NASA astronaut and Space Foundation Special Advisor-Human Spaceflight Dr. Leroy Chiao (pictured, below right).

For more photos from Northrop Grumman Family Day, click here.

Visitors Center Opens to the Public

Then, after all the build-up – which included coverage in most of the local Colorado Springs and Denver media outlets – the Space Foundation Visitors Center welcomed its first guests when it officially opened to the public on Oct. 9. First through th door were Julie Batura and sons Riley, 7, Will, 2 and Alex, 7 months, of Colorado Springs, Colo., who viewed the artifacts and the Science On a Sphere® in the Northrop Grumman Science Center as part of a morning homeschooling outing (pictured, left).

The public grand opening celebration included an autograph session with Dr. Leroy Chiao.

The Space Foundation Visitors Center is open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday and the first Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For full details, including admission prices, click here.

Educator Open House

Northrop Grumman Science Center opening festivities concluded on Oct. 9 with an evening open house for invited educators, principals and superintendents from local school districts, Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons and faculty from area colleges. More than 60 guests were treated to a reception, a demonstration of Science On a Sphere and the opportunity to meet Dr. Leroy Chiao.

Northrop Grumman Donation

The centerpiece of the new Northrop Grumman Science Center, Science On a Sphere, is a dynamic spherical projection system that uses special software and satellite imagery to render dramatic, full motion views of the Earth, Sun, moons and planets.

Developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), SOS graphically illustrates complex science principles in a compelling and easy-to-understand format. The Space Foundation’s SOS, which is one of only 87 in the world, has more than 350 unique datasets covering topics as diverse as satellite images of planets and moons, the paths of hurricanes and tsunamis, daily air traffic patterns, ocean currents and temperatures, plate tectonics and weather patterns.

To learn more about the Space Foundation Visitors Center, Northrop Grumman Science Center, featuring Science On a Sphere or the El Pomar Space Gallery, click here.

This article is part of Space Watch: November 2012 (Volume: 11, Issue: 11).