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Space Watch

Space is the Place!

This month's Second View is by Space Foundation Vice President-Operations Art Ratkewicz.

A former commander of Air Force Space Command would often say "Space is the place!"  

His words are more true now than ever. When you think about how humankind's ventures into space have improved life on Earth, space really is the place to focus our attention for the future. From the Global Positioning System to DirecTV® to long haul communications to weather forecasting to disaster recovery efforts to science experiments on the International Space Station, our ability to apply what we have learned in and about space to our everyday lives is amazing. The benefits of space have become so ingrained in our society, most of us don't even realize how invaluable these benefits really are.

The Space Foundation takes an active role in helping people understand the lasting importance of space exploration. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the leading advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, all in support of its mission "to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity."

Just more than a year ago, the Space Foundation realized a long-time goal of helping people become more aware of space exploration and its benefits to us on Earth when we opened our Discovery Center at our world headquarters in Colorado Springs. The initial phase was a modest beginning, focusing on lunar exploration in the El Pomar Space Gallery, and introducing the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere®, a 68-inch spherical display depicting planets in space.

We welcomed more than 12,000 visitors during our first year, and both our formal and informal education offerings have evolved. Soon we'll open two new education labs and an education annex at the Discovery Center. The AGI Space Missions Simulator will give students and educators the opportunity to plan and execute a space "mission." Not only will they be able to track satellites, they will gain a better understanding of how satellites in orbit function. We'll also open our Mars Lab, enabling visiting students to operate robots on the surface of "Mars."

In addition to the new labs, we are adding new exhibits to our space museum and a fresh look to the existing ones. We hope that visitors to the Discovery Center come away with a better understanding and awareness of how space exploration is benefiting humankind, and that space activity and exploration is continuing by the United States and other countries around the globe.

Learn more about the Space Foundation Discovery Center here.

As vice president - operations, Art Ratkewicz oversees facilities administration for all Space Foundation locations, including its world headquarters in Colorado Springs. He also oversees customer service, information technology systems and support and all logistical aspects of Space Foundation events, including the annual Space Symposium. Ratkewicz joined the Space Foundation in 2010 and his previous experience includes project management with Booz Allen Hamilton and a number of senior-level intelligence and information operations positions with the United States Air Force, the U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Air Force Space Command. Ratkewicz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the United States Air Force Academy, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Dallas.   

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