Awards, Space Week and Conferences!

Ruben Nunez, CEO of Earthrise Space Foundation,

Wins the Rising Star in Technology Award! 

    During World Space Week, from October 4th – 10th, Earthrise Space Foundation traveled all around Central Florida to showcase the wonders of private space exploration. Our first stop on this eventful journey took us to the Orlando Science Center, where we displayed our creation at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire.

     The Mini Makers Faire is an amazing collaboration of builders, doers and dreamers displaying their many creations. The plethora of gadgets, toys and machines stretched over four sprawling floors that comprised this endless sea of geeky wonder. On the fourth floor, in the planetary science exhibit, Earthrise Space Foundation piloted "Artemis the Outreach rover" from booth to booth and explained our vision to the public. Artemis, who is almost entirely crafted from a 3-D printer, was entirely at home in the many exhibits of intricately crafted 3-D printed creations that border line works of art. Across the room, a sadly empty booth that was reserved for NASA was full of children playing tag. On the other side of the room, a ten foot tall marionette danced next to a large hand gesture controlled projection of the Death Star. Thus is the nature of the Mini Makers Faire. “Look honey, they build spaceships!” mothers would say as they guided their children towards us. From recent high school graduates to kindergarteners, we explained the process of getting involved in the space industry and what it takes to build real spacecraft. “Pay attention in math class” is my usual advice, though more than one of these ambitious youngsters could probably teach me a thing or two about calculus and differential equations. For those kids, whose dreams of space are as big as ours, the advice is to simply never give up. In a few years, hopefully those bright students will come back to Earthrise with a resume in hand and explain how they first met our company at the Mini Makers Faire. For the many children who have already crafted their own inventions and creations, we told our own personal stories and explained how to take creativity and dreams and turn them into a productive reality. A few NASA workers, on furlough during the government shutdown, walked with their kids and smiled when they saw our booth. Talks of the future of the company and how their kids can get involved with spaceflight ensued. A few recognized the Google Lunar XPRIZE, but for those who didn’t it was our chance to show them what the spirit of competition is REALLY about- having a dream, and making it happen. It was a wonderful experience, all and all, but not just because of the roaming R2-D2 models and storm troopers posing in front of our signs. The chance to show children, of all ages, the real potential of science and technology is a reward in itself. This is to say nothing of the many Makers we met and connected with from places like the DAVE school (Digital Animation and Visual Effects), UltiBots, Stetson University, Makers Space and many more.

     Our next conference during Space Week was the Melbourne 2013 TechXpo held at the Florida Institute of Technology. This was the gathering of many of Central Florida’s leading tech companies, including Boeing, Northrup Grumman, Space Coast Energy consortium, Embry Riddle and the University of Central Florida, just to name a few. Anyone that’s been to a well-organized trade show can attest to the electric atmosphere, full of new opportunities being made and partnerships being forged. We were thrilled to show off the Foundation, explaining the goals of the Google Lunar XPRIZE and the many opportunities that lie with it. Surrounded by so many space enthusiasts, sometimes the conversation would drift from Earthrise Space to the future of spaceflight to astronomy in general. The thrill of extra-terrestrial mining and lunar development attracted the FIT Lunabotics team and curious onlookers. FIT’s Lunabotics team had their prototype rover, who was in good company with Artemis, accompany them. This was exciting, as it is not often that two groups that build lunar rovers and landers get a chance to meet up. The possibilities of Earthrise’s lunar lander and the mining technology being developed was boundless, and the conversation drew in the staff of our neighboring booths. In the future, private lander technology and mining rover technology can partner together, starting with those invaluable connections being forged at TechXpo. We spoke at length with Boeing, who was displaying their role in the new Space Launch System. Meeting fellow aerospace groups face-to-face is truly one of the driving forces of innovation, and seeing how these initial interactions mature over the next several months will be amazing.

     The most exciting event in TechXpo for us was the Award Ceremony where Ruben Nunez, CEO of Earthrise Space Foundation, was awarded the Rising Star in Technology Award. The Rising Star Award is described as “Presented to a new company or one that has made the most significant progress in the past 18 months. This company’s growth puts it on track to make a positive impact in their markets and on the region’s technology community.” Earthrise Space has indeed grown significantly in the last year and a half, which in turn increases its capacity to hire, train and foster the space industry in the Central Florida area. Earthrise today is an ever-growing company that is a key employer of students looking to enter the space industry. As we continue to expand, the potential for lunar development expands with us. We are very proud to receive this award and see Ruben accept it on our behalf, and look forward to the bright future it can bring our community.

     It was an exciting week, and this next month promises a lot more development for the company. It was a thrill to see children learn the wonders and opportunity in spaceflight, and an even bigger thrill to see the big name companies from around Florida meet and discuss opportunities about our mission. Stay tuned: there’s more big news to come in the next month!

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