Friday, January 22, 2010

Florida Road Show

The new year kicked off with yet another eCYBERMISSION road show, this time down south to what was supposed to be warm and sunny Florida from January 6-8. Despite the temperature never peaking past 40 degrees, the visit turned out to be a very successful one as we visited the Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) and Kennedy Space Center (KSC), each for the first time.

This year marks the first time that eCYBERMISSION will conduct a road show at all of the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) subordinates and our visit to STTC earlier this month brought us one step closer to our goal. The employees at STTC were very welcoming and accommodating and excited to learn more about eCYBERMISSION. Larry Ziock, our point of contact there, was a fantastic asset in terms of actually setting up our road show and Mark Brzezinski, a former Ambassador from many years ago who has now returned to the competition as a Virtual Judge, was instrumental in bringing people to the registration table. In the end, nine new Virtual Judges registered at STTC and a significant number of other STTC employees took information with them to their offices.

On Friday we visited Kennedy Space Center, setting up our registration table first in the KSC Headquarters Building and then in the Space Station Processing Facility.

Both of these locations are buildings that your average tourists don’t get to see. It was very cool to be inside NASA and see its inner workings and meet all of the scientists and engineers there. An additional nine Virtual Judges registered at KSC between the two buildings, thanks largely to Tim Ferris, our point of contact there and now an eCYBERMISSION Virtual Judge.

Other than our very successful outreach visits, another highlight of the trip included a trip to a local state park where all of the manatees go when the water is too cold because the park’s water is heated by a nearby natural hot spring.

There were over 200 manatees there at one point during the day and I think we saw close to that many in the short time we were there before the park closed.

Also, after our outreach visit at KSC and before our flight home, we visited Space Coast, a small town just outside of town where we got to see the next shuttle being prepared for its February launch and take a tour of the monuments dedicated to past space missions.

All in all, the trip was both very successful and a lot of fun! Check out Rachael’s blog about her visits to a few of our Team Advisors and their students while in Florida and our Flickr page for more photos from the trip.

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