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Global Space League to take Young Scientists' Experiments Above the Clouds and Below the Sea

Press Release From: Global Space League
Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Notice to Editors: The American Meteorological Society is the nation's premier scientific society for those involved in the atmospheric and related sciences. The AMS annual meeting will be held 9-13 February 2003 at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California. More than 2,000 of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists will gather to discuss a broad range of weather and climate-related issues. In addition more than 100 exhibitors will demonstrate the latest advances in science and technology.

The AMS' 2nd Annual Weather Fest will take place Sunday, 9 February. Weather Fest is a free, public science and weather fair geared toward the general public and greater Long Beach Community. The four-hour science fair will feature speakers and hands-on demonstrations, cool videos, a balloon demonstration and much more. Global Space League will be featured in Booth 52.

FREDERICK, OKLAHOMA (JANUARY 28, 2003): Global Space League is a new enterprise forming in Frederick, Oklahoma that arranges for kids nationwide to take part in real science experiments being performed in exciting places not usually accessible to them: the stratosphere, the ocean, onboard test flights of exotic vehicles, and similar cool places. A spinoff venture of California-based Takeoff Technologies LLC, the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, and a host of other participants, Global Space League has three key customers: scientists exploring interesting environments willing to provide a "ride-along" capability to Global Space League experiments; working scientists who want to come up with a fun, participatory experiment that can uniquely give some useful data in that environment; and kids who want to do some real science. At the American Meteorological Society's Weather Fest in Long Beach, California on February 9th, attendees will be able to suggest ideas for experiments to fly on planned stratospheric vehicle flights originating in Frederick.

The first Global Space League event took place as part of the Centennial of Frederick on September 28, 2002. At that event, HighShips, a company developing innovative lighter-than-air vehicles, carried hundreds of paper airplanes made by kids in Frederick up to altitude where they were autonomously released. Airplane dispersal was then tracked at http://www.okspaceplanes.com. Global Space League also flew a RocketCam(TM) camera that looked down on everyone in the crowd (video can be seen in the video gallery at http://www.eclipticenterprises.com/gallery_rocketcam.shtml) as well as avionics equipment developed at Santa Clara University.

As the next step in the evolution of the idea, founder Joan Horvath (herself a former JPL "rocket scientist" turned entrepreneur) realized that they needed to reach out to the practicing science community both for broader opportunities for student participation and for design of real experiments that would allow students to gather cutting-edge data. "I realized that the key thing to get kids excited about taking part in a science experiment was that they had to be able to touch things that were going to go someplace a real scientist would want to send an instrument -- the upper atmosphere, the ocean, places like that. Then it was a matter of starting to contact key organizations to try to get them interested in working with us. The first one to respond was the American Meteorological Society, and they invited us to participate in their Weather Fest event. We will be asking the meteorology community gathered there to come up with significant science we can do and have kids touch. We feel that's a unique niche right now."

Officials stated that a national membership plan for students, teachers, and schools, coupled with a sponsorship system that will allow for corporate support of particular experiments, will be announced shortly. Interested parties should visit www.globalspaceleague.org.

How big could this get? Horvath stated, "Well, we are currently in discussions with Santa Clara University to take along a Global Space League experiment this summer when they send their remotely-operated submersible down into the sea off the California coast. We are also talking to XCOR Aerospace about taking along a kid-designed unofficial validation package on their next record-setting flight. And there are many, many groups that are starting to express interest, so we imagine in due course having several Global Space League experiments deployed around the globe at all times. We'd like this to be a national, and ultimately international program."

When asked why she was basing the new entity in Frederick, Horvath responded, "We had a wonderful experience flying out of Frederick last fall, and one thing was clear: the small community of Frederick has a local reputation for hosting low-cost, family-friendly entertainment events. We can use their energy and experience, coupled with their local airport and rural setting, to get a lot of interesting science up in the air in the near term while safely having a lot of families attending on the ground. We'll recruit participants nationwide, but we will manage the enterprise from Frederick with a science and marketing office in California."

Oklahoma State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Gilmer Capps, who has represented the southwestern portion of the state which includes Frederick since the1970s, has been encouraging developments like Global Space League for years. Capps developed and shepherded into law an economic incentive program for small aerospace companies which has drawn significant activity into the region. Asked to comment on the new activity in his district, Capps chose to quote Nelson Mandela, stating, "The Global Space League team down in Frederick reminds me of the saying, 'A vision without action is just a dream; an action without vision just passes time; a vision with action changes the world.' They have vision and are taking action, and they will succeed."

CONTACT:

Global Space League
105 South Main Street
Frederick, OK 73542
www.globalspaceleague.org

Joan Horvath, Takeoff Technologies LLC
(626) 695-2951, joan@takeofftech.com

Jeff Patterson, Frederick Chamber of Commerce
(580) 335-2126, frederickcc@pldi.net

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