The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is an annual event that brings together everyone who is part of development and exploration of outer space. “Space: The Power of the Past, the Promise of the Future” was the events 2019 theme and it reflected on how the first human footsteps on the moon inspired the global community to engage in space in increasingly collaborative ways. The theme also reflects the momentum building in the space community with plans to expand human presence outside low Earth orbit, to the moon, and beyond.

This year’s event, held in Washington, D.C., brought together people from all over the world who have been, are, and will be involved in some of the most pivotal space endeavors past, present, and future. We were thrilled to play a part in the program and spend time meeting with representatives from space agencies and companies here in the U.S. and across the globe.

Our Vice President of Education Denise Kopecky was a keynote speaker on the first day of the week-long event. Denise spoke about the importance of STEM education in elementary and middle school. She talked about hands-on, practical ways for experts to connect students to real-world STEM experiences.

In conjunction with the celebration of space, two days of STEM opportunities were offered to hundreds of local middle school students. We were proud to be one of a handful of organizations that participated in the special student STEM event. Our team gave students the opportunity to explore the concept of lava tubes by maneuvering Sphero Robots through obstacle courses. Students also explored the surface of the Moon and Mars using our Challenger Rover and Mars Community Builder apps.

We also teamed up with our friends at Blue Origin to introduce the students to their Club for the Future and participate in the Club’s space mail activity. Students were asked to draw or write their vision of people living and working in space on a postcard. That postcard will launch into space on an upcoming New Shepard flight and then sent back to the students.

A huge thanks to IAC, AIAA, and all of our partners in the space community for an incredible week!