Second View

Pushing the Envelope

Written by: developer

by Kevin Cook, Space Foundation Vice President – Marketing & Communications

It’s amazing what a small group can accomplish.

There are hundreds of thousands of people working in the global space industry. Without a doubt it is an impressive line-up of scientists, physicists, engineers, mathematicians and myriad specialists. Still, this represents no more than a tiny sub-fraction of humanity. Yet the scale and number of miraculous technological accomplishments are out of all proportion to its number.

How can this be? What is it that makes this group, this industry so exceptional? You could point to the undeniable concentration of knowledge and skill. You can even argue a certain degree of luck, but other industries can just as easily claim the same. It certainly isn’t owed to any certainty of profit or limitless government funding.

Okay, all of this applies, but I submit there is a far more elusive ingredient at work, something exceptional and difficult to measure. That something is dedication. Turns out commitment, enthusiasm, perseverance, allegiance and even ardor are just a few of the terms needed to define the concept and are themselves proof of its importance.

Dedication is what it takes to actually cover that ‘extra mile.’ It’s that ethereal necessity that allows people to overcome what are seemingly impossible odds. Dedication is that crucial element that makes all the difference between formidable words like disappointment and triumph.

I’m proud to say that dedication is a common enough characteristic among the Space Foundation team. People often express surprise when they learn that we number fewer than than 50 full-time members.

And it’s no wonder when you consider the number of programs and projects this small group takes on at any given time. The best known is, of course, the decisively established Space Symposium, now in its thirty-second year of convening global space leadership. We simultaneously plan and prepare for it along with our new Space Technology and Investment Forum, focused on the rapidly expanding private space sector. We also manage to fit in items like the all new Faga Forum on Space Intelligence, international outreach programs, classified sessions on Space and Cyber, 10 years of The Space Report, the Space Foundation Discovery Center and its hundreds of STEM and space awareness focused exhibits, events and programs for school groups, educators and the general public.

Of course we have the requisite hierarchy but it is the team and its collective dedication that delivers the results. And we are fortunate and eternally grateful that our extended team includes a steadfast and growing number of equally dedicated volunteers. Their hard work makes the ever-growing list of accomplishments possible.

This is not an exercise in self-aggrandizement, but simply an observation of how a dedicated team can achieve things out of all proportion to its collective size.

This brings us back to the big picture, an image of a thriving global industry. A small cadre that takes risks to accomplish big things, things that directly improve life for all of us here on Earth.

This article is part of Space Watch: March 2016 (Volume: 15, Issue: 3).