The Longhorn Project Celebrates 23 Years of Success

August 1st, 2019

Ringman’s Shelia won first in class and returned home with her bull calf to Brazos Rose Ranch. From left to right: Brandon Couvillon, breeder Ronnie Mullinax, Emma Lucas and Libby Butterfield.

Local Students and Community Benefit from Longstanding Youth Program

The Longhorn Project Board of Directors hosted its annual End of Year Celebration on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Western Heritage Pavilion, located at NASA Johnson Space Center to commemorate the 2018-2019 show season and school year.

Attended by almost 100 supporters, the celebratory luncheon treated guests to personalized presentations by show team members, Libby Butterfield, Emma Lucas, Brandon Couvillon and Quinten Cherry, Board Chairman Andrea Wilson and Board Vice Chairman Greg Schroder, honoring the LHP sponsors, breeders, teachers and volunteers who contributed to the program’s 23 years of success.

Project Manager Henry Wilson was recognized for his exceptional commitment to producing a winning show team of herd of longhorns, Rudy’s Country Store & Barb-B-Que Webster was recognized providing the delicious meal and its generous support over the past year, and President and Chairman of Bay Group Media Rick Clapp was recognized for donating his public relations services to help promote the mission of the program.

Rick Fritsche, manager and registrar of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA), impressed the crowd with presenting the statistics that over 7,000 longhorns from 11 countries are registered with the TLBAA and the longest horns on a Texas Registered Longhorn Steer were recently measured at 129.4”.

Board members George W. S. Abbey, Greg Schroder, Dr. Glenn Freedman, Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, Rolando Villarreal and Justin Gamble presented the appreciation awards to the show teams. Chloe Reid, a 2019 Clear Horizon Early College High School graduate, was honored for her three years of dedication and leadership in coordinating service projects for high school students who volunteered in the Garden, Agriculture, Sustainability and Arts (GASA) program along with Susan Parker, LHP’s Lead Science Teacher and Field Trip Coordinator.

“The Longhorn Project is best known for its Show Team and participation on the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA) show circuit in Texas and Louisiana,” said Board Chairman, Andrea Wilson. “And in addition to the Show Team, the Longhorn Project offers a 3.5-hour agriculture and STEM-based educational curriculum for 3rd – 12th grade students, that was championed by former Clear Creek ISD superintendent Dr. Sandra Mossman, that focuses on the interaction of agriculture, livestock and space exploration,” she added.

In the 2018-19 academic year, over 5,000 students from the Clear Creek, Galveston, Dickinson, Santa Fe, Pearland and Houston school districts and several private schools attend the educational program.

Founded in 1996 by George W. S. Abbey, former director of the Johnson Space Center, The Longhorn Project at Johnson Space Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To donate, visit the website, www.thelonghornproject.com.

Bay Area community meets pioneer women astronauts

August 1st, 2018

Space Center Houston welcomed famous pioneer astronauts Rhea Seddon, Shannon Lucid and Anna Fisher, from left, for its Thought Leader Series.

By Mary Alys Cherry

The Clear Lake community was in for a rare treat in late June when Space Center Houston hosted its Thought Leader Series for several hundred local residents with three of the first women astronauts – Dr. Anna Fisher, Dr. Shannon Lucid and Dr. Rhea Seddon.

All three were among the first six women NASA invited to be astronauts — members of the astronaut class of January 1978, which became known in space circles as “the 35 new guys.”

The other three women were the late Sally Ride, who became the first American woman to fly in space 35 years ago; Judith Resnik, who became the second American woman in space while losing her life on Challenger’s final flight in 1986; and NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, who in 1984 became the first American woman to walk in space, but was unable to attend the event.

Male notables in their class included retired Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats; Brewster Shaw, who became head of Boeing’s Houston space operations; James Lovell, commander of Apollo 13; author and public speaker Mike Mullane; Dan Brandenstein, chief operating officer of United Space Alliance; and three other members of the fatal Challenger crew – Commander Dick Scobee, Ellison Onizuka and Ronald McNair.

TREATED EQUALLY
Prior to the program, the trio met with members of the press, who asked a variety of questions, including if they were treated equally with the male astronauts and about memorable moments in their careers.

While many women today can recall not receiving equal pay or equal treatment with their male counterparts in the workplace in earlier years, all three retired astronauts agreed they had no complaints about NASA. In fact, they thought the space agency bent over backwards to see they got excellent treatment.

“I think we all wondered at first if they would give us a chance,” Seddon said. They had never (sent women into space), and they wanted to take a chance, she explained.

Lucid went on to tell how all the women were a little nervous when Ride became the first woman to fly in space. “So much depended on how well she did.” All three thought she did quite well while also inspiring women all over the country to go into science and engineering fields.

Since then, it’s been amazing to see how many women have joined NASA, they all agreed. In the old days, almost all aerospace employees were men, Fisher said. Today it’s about 50-50 and from all different ethnic backgrounds.

HAPPY MEMORIES
All three also shared a memorable moment while in space.

Lucid remembered the enjoyment of “just floating around at the end of the day” when all their work was done, while many came to Fisher’s mind such as “looking out the window at the Himolayans” and at the end of a successful space journey.

Seddon recalled having a ham radio on board which allowed her to communicate with the school children in her young son’s class. As their talk came to an end and she thought all communication had been terminated, she heard a click and then a small voice that said, “I love you Mom. Have a safe trip home.” You could almost feel the lump in her throat as she shared that long ago special moment.

Their biggest surprise? Lucid was quick to answer. When she first flew in space only 12 men had walked on the moon. She said she thought the moon would be colonized by the time she was 75. Yet, today, three decades later, and she’s now 75, only 12 men have walked on the moon.

“It still boggles my mind that we went and quit.” she said.

She, like everyone in the space community, is hopeful President Trump will continue the push to return to the moon and get on to Mars.

Space Center Houston passes million mark in 2016 attendance

February 1st, 2017

More than one million visitors streamed through the doors of Space Center Houston in 2016, making it the best-ever year in attendance for the nonprofit. The record-breaking one-million milestone came last month, just as the center was poised to open its 25th anniversary year and unveil a new permanent exhibit before Super Bowl LI.

“A million thanks to all our visitors for joining us this year,” said center President and CEO William T. Harris. “People are more excited than ever to come here and learn about the past, present and future of space exploration. We strive to provide an exceptional learning experience for visitors of all ages.”

The milestone came at the end of an incredible year for the nonprofit including nine record-breaking months of attendance. The previous record year, 2015, had five consecutive record-breaking months. With 82 percent of the visitors coming from outside the Houston area, the center is the No. 1 destination for international visitors in Houston.

Last year, the center welcomed Harris as its new CEO, earned a 2016 Top Workplaces Award from the Houston Chronicle and received its third consecutive TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award. The Independence Plaza exhibit complex won two of the attraction industry’s highest honors — the Impact Award and Best New Product for Displays and Sets — at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo Brass Ring Awards Ceremony.

To commemorate its 25th anniversary next Oct. 16, the center begins a jubilee celebration throughout this year. The festivities open this month with the new permanent exhibit, Mission Mars, which takes visitors through a Mars portal full of interactive activities. In the future-looking exhibit, visitors will explore a virtual Martian landscape and imagine being one of the first explorers on the planet. A thought-leader speaker series also is planned.

The center will have an increased focus on educational outreach to underserved students in the Houston area. The addition of a new 5,000-square-foot special events building overlooking the colossal exhibit complex Independence Plaza will provide a unique location for private parties and corporate events.

There is always something new to see at Space Center Houston. Residents can join the 25th anniversary celebration by sharing their favorite Space Center Houston story, photo or video on social media. Use the hashtag #SpaceCenterHou. Go to its Visitor Info page for ticket prices and tips to enjoy a visit. For more information about Space Center Houston, visit spacecenter.org

Students work together to build a sustainable Mars community

July 1st, 2016

Students learned to build rovers, design a Mars habitat, filter water and pack for a mission to Mars during a three-day international summit at Space Center Houston June 15-17. (Photo Space Center Houston)

Students learned to build rovers, design a Mars habitat, filter water and pack for a mission to Mars during a three-day international summit at Space Center Houston June 15-17. (Photo Space Center Houston)

Students from around the world converged on the Bay Area in June to create a sustainable Mars community at the Mars Together Global Summit at Space Center Houston. The international education project partners Space Center Houston with two leading science centers.

“It’s important for youth to understand global issues and learn how they can make a significant impact in a future career, said Daniel Newmyer, Space Center Houston education director. “The summit unites students for a cross-cultural exchange and encourages them to use leadership, creative-thinking and problem-solving skills while solving the complex challenges of space exploration.”

The three-day conference brought together more than 180 high-school students from the United States, Singapore and France for a fun, hands-on educational summit empowering youth with 21st century skills. Students learned about portable water solutions, renewable energy and the nutrition needed to develop a sustainable community on the red planet. They built a thermal shield, designed a Mars habitat, filter water and pack for a mission to Mars.

The summit is the culmination of a prestigious six-month U.S. Department of State grant that partners Space Center Houston with Cite de l’espace in France and Science Centre Singapore. The grant funded a future-looking initiative focused on teaching youth about space science, technology and global citizenship. It engaged youth to think about a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“The collaboration between Space Center Houston, Cite de l’espace, and Science Centre Singapore offers an opportunity for youth of all backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities to come together based solely on their common interests of space and science,” said Christophe Chaffardon, Cité de l’espace head of education.

Students from greater Houston have traveled to Singapore and Toulouse to meet their international partners and tour the science centers. Throughout the year, all the students participated in space and science webinars and experienced a cross-cultural exchange.

Mars Together, a Museums Connect project, is made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the American Alliance of Museums.

Independence Plaza opens to great fanfare

March 1st, 2016

Photo: Space Center Houston

Photo: Space Center Houston

By Mary Alys Cherry

The pride of Clear Lake just got better.

Space Center Houston, which is already one of the top tourist draws in Texas is now both bigger and better with the opening of the Space Shuttle Independence atop the first shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905, a Boeing 747. And, don’t for a minute think it is like any old shuttle.

It took many months of work and $12 million to bring it to fruition.

The colossal – and you’ll agree once you see it up close – Independence Plaza opened with great fanfare: fireworks, skydivers, astronauts, hands-on science activities for students and live presentations. And, it did not disappoint. Even the reporters and photographers were awed as they surveyed the multi-story structure.

For openers, while it is a shuttle replica, it was built exactly like the other shuttles – minus the motors –and is the only shuttle in the world one can walk through. In addition to seeing the controls and seats where astronauts would sit, you will be treated to an array of interactive exhibits and space program artifacts. You can sit where the shuttle pilots sat and walk down to where the mission specialists sat as the exhibits immerse visitors in the science and history of the shuttle era.

Also, you can walk through the giant 747. Much of the inside has been replaced with displays, but first class seats remain for your perusal, and you can walk around and see just how big the plane is.

And, best of all, the price of admission includes the shuttle display and 747.

Also, Bay Area residents can purchase a Space Center Houston membership for a few dollars more than a full-price admission ticket and return free all year long the year with free parking, special events and much more. For more information on Space Center Houston, visit spacecenter.org

Mariska Mes 2016 Lunar Rendezvous queen

September 1st, 2015

2016 Lunar Rendezvous Queen Mariska Valerie Mes joins 2015 King Jerry Ross, Queen Alternate Jessica Michelle Monette and Capt. Joseph Michael Corrao for a photo shortly after she was crowned during the festival finale, the Coronation Ball at the Galveston Convention Center.

2016 Lunar Rendezvous Queen Mariska Valerie Mes joins 2015 King Jerry Ross, Queen Alternate Jessica Michelle Monette and Capt. Joseph Michael Corrao for a photo shortly after she was crowned during the festival finale, the Coronation Ball at the Galveston Convention Center.

9-1 Festival Chairman

Lunar Rendezvous Festival Chairman Jana Miller, right, and Board of Directors Chairman Michael Landolt congratulate Coronation Ball Chairmen Elizabeth Byrd Olin and Co-Chairman Katie Jones, second and third from left, on a very successful evening.

Clear Lake Chatter

By: Mary Alys Cherry

A PRETTY BLONDE Clear Falls High senior is the new queen of Lunar Rendezvous as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Mariska Valerie Mes, who was elected by her fellow princesses, was crowned at the Lunar Rendezvous Coronation Ball in the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston and will reign over the 2016 festival next summer.  She is the daughter of Brenda and Rudolf Mes of League City.

The 2016 queen alternate is Jessica Michelle Monette, daughter of Terri and Todd Monette, also of League City, and a senior at Lutheran South Academy. Joseph Michael Corrao, son of Joseph and Brandie Corrao of Nassau Bay, was chosen by his fellow lieutenants to be the 2016 captain. He will be a senior at Clear Lake High.

The Reason sisters make a pretty picture as they enjoy the Lunar Rendezvous Coronation Ball. They are, from left, Sydney Reason, Ashton Reason and Savannah Reason, daughters of Dan and Jill Reason of League City. Ashton was the 2014 queen alternate and her twin sisters were princesses this year.

The Reason sisters make a pretty picture as they enjoy the Lunar Rendezvous Coronation Ball. They are, from left, Sydney Reason, Ashton Reason and Savannah Reason, daughters of Dan and Jill Reason of League City. Ashton was the 2014 queen alternate and her twin sisters were princesses this year.

Ball Chairman Elizabeth Byrd Olin and Co-Chairman Katie Jones welcomed a black-tie crowd of more than 600 to the festival finale, where they enjoyed an elegant dinner and danced to the music of Password — – much to the delight of some 50 former kings, court members and past royals in attendance.

Besides the presentation of the royal court of princesses and lieutenants along with 2015 King Jerry Ross, Queen Allison Powell, Queen Alternate Demerle Monks and Capt. Jack Mullens by U.S. Army Col. (Ret) and former astronaut William McArthur, who emceed the event, it was also a night to honor the little court – the pages and little ladies in waiting, who always add charm to the event.

EARLIER IN THE WEEK, another big crowd of about 600 gathered at the Convention Center for the 50th Lunar Rendezvous Fashion Show, chaired by Michelle Holland and Deborah Reichert and produced by fashion guru Lenny Matuszewski Jr. for the 27th time.

Meet the Little Court, which was presented at the 2015 Lunar Rendezvous Coronation Ball in Galveston. They are, from left, front row, Madelaine Louise Kelly, Andrea Victoria Hernandez, Bella Burton Rogers and Mary Addison Culp; middle row, Isabella Jade Amdur, Lily Ellen Chuoke, Claire Elizabeth Farley, Gwendolyn Ellen Cook, Helen Grace Byrd, Emme Ann Lyon and Natalie Grace Lehman; and top row, Wyatt Mitchell Chuoke, Gregory Maddox Culp and John David LeBlanc.

Meet the Little Court, which was presented at the 2015 Lunar Rendezvous Coronation Ball in Galveston. They are, from left, front row, Madelaine Louise Kelly, Andrea Victoria Hernandez, Bella Burton Rogers and Mary Addison Culp; middle row, Isabella Jade Amdur, Lily Ellen Chuoke, Claire Elizabeth Farley, Gwendolyn Ellen Cook, Helen Grace Byrd, Emme Ann Lyon and Natalie Grace Lehman; and top row, Wyatt Mitchell Chuoke, Gregory Maddox Culp and John David LeBlanc.

Melanie Lovuola and Kathy Panneton, two long-time volunteers committed to the mission of the Lunar Rendezvous Festival, were presented the Golden Jubilee Award, and Kimberly Barker won the Spirit Award as volunteer of the year at the always popular event.

LOTS OF FORMER festival chairmen were on hand for the annual Lunar Rendezvous Dining Event, at Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Clear Lake.

While Festival Chairman Jana Miller mingled with the crowd, Chairman Tisa Foster and Co-Chairman Tracy Clause were at the door welcoming all with big smiles, including Past Festival Chairmen Ann Wismer Landolt, Mary Ann Shallberg, Mike and Kathy Reeves, Gloria Wong, Jill Reason, Annette Dwyer, Pat Wilson, Terri Dieste, Peggy Clause, Mary Williams, Kelli McCorkle Byrd and Jill Williams Lammers, who is the current Advisory Board chairman.

Five who once chaired a Lunar Rendezvous Festival swap stories during this year’s Dining Event. They are, from left, Jill Williams Lammers, who is the current chairman of the Lunar Rendezvous Advisory Board; Pat Wilson, Mary Williams, Kathy Reeves and Kelli McCorkle Byrd.

Five who once chaired a Lunar Rendezvous Festival swap stories during this year’s Dining Event. They are, from left, Jill Williams Lammers, who is the current chairman of the Lunar Rendezvous Advisory Board; Pat Wilson, Mary Williams, Kathy Reeves and Kelli McCorkle Byrd.

Shuttle complex opens on Jan. 23
It’s a date! Space Center Houston will open the new international landmark Independence Plaza on Jan. 23. The eight-story-tall multiple-exhibit complex is the biggest project for the nonprofit since the center opened in 1992 and features a shuttle replica mounted on top of the first shuttle carrier aircraft.

The announcement comes on the anniversary of the first free flight of a shuttle on Aug. 12, 1977, when Enterprise was released from atop what is now Space Center Houston’s shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905. That SCA ferried shuttles 223 times and now carries the high-fidelity shuttle replica Independence, the world’s only shuttle mounted on an SCA and the only place where the public will be able to enter both.

They took time to remember

May 1st, 2015

Friends such as Lou and Alice Marinos, right, and attorney Dick DeGuerin, left, gather around attorney Dick Gregg Jr. during Tribute Party at Tommy’s in memory of Gregg’s wife, Lynette Mason Gregg.

Friends such as Lou and Alice Marinos, right, and attorney Dick DeGuerin, left, gather around attorney Dick Gregg Jr. during Tribute Party at Tommy’s in memory of Gregg’s wife, Lynette Mason Gregg.

FOLKS ARE STILL talking about “Take Time to Dance,” the wonderful tribute to the late Lynette Mason Gregg, who added so much to the cultural life of the Bay Area with the addition of her Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre.

She not only touched the lives of many dancers, she actually changed the face of the arts in the area. The retrospective tribute performance of dance featured a wide variety of favorite pieces from BAHBT’s history, as well as new pieces choreographed in her honor.

After the Saturday evening performance, many, including Lynette’s daughter, Vanessa Handrick Garner, gathered at Tommy’s for the Encore! Reception, which included the presentation of the Jete’ Society Award to sisters, Allison and Laura Henning, who had roles in the weekend tribute and were selected by Lynette for the award before her death.

Vanessa Handrick Garner, center, is happy to see Jete’ Award winners, Laura, left, and Alison Henning, as they arrive at the party at Tommy’s after performing in the Tribute to Handrick’s mother, the late Lynette Mason Gregg.

Vanessa Handrick Garner, center, is happy to see Jete’ Award winners, Laura, left, and Alison Henning, as they arrive at the party at Tommy’s after performing in the Tribute to Handrick’s mother, the late Lynette Mason Gregg.

Faces in the crowd at the party included Lynette’s husband, well known Bay Area attorney Dick Gregg Jr., Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, Friendswood attorney Alton Todd and his wife, Nari; Lou and Alice Marinos, Judy Harper, Broadway actor Kevin Cahoon,  Jill Reason, Tim Kopra, Todd Zerecheck, Darrick McCally, Michael Bickham, Lort St. George, Kim Steele, Lenny Matuszewski and Sherre and Norman Frede and a host of others.

Ploss family hosts Easter egg hunt

WHILE EASTER is a religious holiday, it is also a time for dressing up our little children and sending them off on Easter egg hunts after church.

One that has become a tradition in League City is hosted each year by Jack and Margaret Ploss along with their son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Pam Ploss, for their Creekside Estates neighbors.

Among the dozens enjoying the always fun event we spotted Sadye and Sam Meineke and their family laughing as children skipped about looking for eggs and giving the Easter Bunny a big hug.

Jack and Margaret Ploss, right, Creekside Estates Easter Egg Hunt hosts, and their son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Pam Ploss, are pleased with both the weather and the crowd turnout for their annual event.

Jack and Margaret Ploss, right, Creekside Estates Easter Egg Hunt hosts, and their son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Pam Ploss, are pleased with both the weather and the crowd turnout for their annual event.

Assistance League has The Right Stuff

AFTER MANY long hours of work helping our community, Assistance League members headed to Space Center Houston April 11 to celebrate another successful year at The Right Stuff Gala.

And, celebrate they did with most everyone having a great time at the always-fun event.

Gala Chairman Katy Bastedo and Co-Chairman Perri Fox and their husbands, Bill and Nelson, joined President Brunella Altemus and her husband, Steve, in welcoming the arriving crowd that included Tom and Ann Marie Doolin, Malcolm and Susan Franklin, Valerie and Jim Staples, Doreen and Art Nall, Lisa and Steve Poulos, Chipwadia Poonam and Paul and Pam Hill.

Judge Holly Williamson and her husband, Dr. Danny Williamson were in the crowd, as were Ron, Barbara and Erin Weitenhagen, Jim and Jane Sweeney, Terri and Michael Divine, Eric and Susan Buschhorn, Matthew and Lori Johnson and Rich and Patty Lewis.

Hope Award winner Curt Tallman receives congratulations from Assistance League President Brunella Altemus, right, and Vice President Ann Marie Doolin during the presentation at the League Gala.

Hope Award winner Curt Tallman receives congratulations from Assistance League President Brunella Altemus, right, and Vice President Ann Marie Doolin during the presentation at the League Gala.

John and Becky Gay had Mike and Kathy Reeves, Pam and Peter and Pam Culpepper Cronk, Diane and Deed Vest and Angie and Matthew Weinman as their dinner partners while Drs. John Nassar, Henry Muniz and Howard Dillard and their wives, Badiha, Joy and Sharon, sat with Annette Dwyer Monks and her daughter, Demerie, and George Rahbany and Sharon Michaels.

Looking around, you might have spotted Doug and Carol Latimer, Lisa Holbrook, Kim Barker, Teresa Vencil, Mike and Kathleen Courville, Raleigh and Rita Johnson, Sandra Sellers, Linda and Einar Goerland, John and Georgia Piwonka, Melanie Lovuola, Kathy Panneton, Sandy Vail, Ann Hammond, Kathy Scalf, Rick and Jill Lammers, Karen McCorkle, Mary and Dr. Terry Williams and Libby and Cesar Escalante.

Dr. John Jennings, 65th president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, with his wife, Sue Ellen, and their daughters, Allison Poston and Amy Kershner, from left, and Beth McDaniel, right, arrives at Bay Oaks Country Club to address the Women’s Association.

Dr. John Jennings, 65th president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, with his wife, Sue Ellen, and their daughters, Allison Poston and Amy Kershner, from left, and Beth McDaniel, right, arrives at Bay Oaks Country Club to address the Women’s Association.

Some of the others in the partying crowd were Richard and Traci Dvorak, Richard and Jennifer Simmons, Stan and Cindy Senger Lewis, Curt and Vicki Tallman, Jennie Hampton, Drs. Gerry and Cindy Castille, Jeff and Ronda Wegman, Gary and Sally Wigginton, Donna James and Marie and Mike Keener, to name a few.

Coasting Around. . . .

FRIENDSWOOD’S Mariglyn and Stephen Glenn and former Clear Lake residents Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout, who now live in Houston, have been named to the Host Committee for the 2015 Houston Symphony Ball, coming up May 2 . . . .Second Chance Pets will host its Furry & Fabulous Soiree Oct. 15 at DiAmici Upscale Events, 2300 NASA Parkway in Seabrook, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will include dinner, silent and live auctions and complimentary valet parking. Tickets go on sale July 15 with a discounted price of $50 per seat until Aug. 31. . . .

Space Center Houston Is Houston’s First Smithsonian Affiliate

October 9th, 2014

shuttleOctober Is Month of Historic ‘Firsts’ in Space

It’s another first for Houston and Space Center Houston as the nonprofit museum becomes the first Smithsonian Affiliate in the city.

The new status grants access to the national archive of more than 138 million artifacts, specimens and works of art, as well as entree to more than 50 traveling exhibitions developed by the Smithsonian Institution. Meanwhile, the center celebrated a “month of firsts” by opening a new exhibition about the first voyages into deep space.

“We are delighted to launch our first Houston affiliate partnership with Space Center Houston, an organization that has done so much to honor and preserve the history of space flight,” said Harold A. Closter, Smithsonian Affiliations director.

“This new partnership builds on a solid foundation of prior collaboration, artifact loans and scholarly exchange and will address ways that we can work together to inspire a new generation to dream, explore, and further the boundaries of knowledge.”

The national recognition and exposure for Space Center Houston is expected to increase annual visits, boosting the center’s current $45 million annual impact on the greater Houston area. In addition, Houstonians can look forward to Smithsonian exhibitions and programs.

“Space Center Houston is proud to be the first Smithsonian affiliate in Houston,” said Richard E. Allen Jr., president and CEO of Space Center Houston. “This is a result of our continuous dedication to preserving the unique history of space exploration and sharing NASA’s bold vision to expand humanity’s presence into deep space. This affiliation will help us to inspire all generations through the wonders of space exploration.”

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. Learn more at www.spacecenter.org.

The “month of firsts” launches with The Next Giant Leap: Beyond Planet Earth, presented by the City of Webster.

Now open, this all new exhibition explores how humanity will take its first steps towards living and working in deep space, independent of the Earth. This is the first exhibition of the center’s “Next Giant Leap” 2014-15 season of educational programs and exhibits aligned with NASA’s deep-space exploration initiatives.

October is the month of many historic firsts in space. During past Octobers, both NASA (1958) and Space Center Houston (1992) began operations and launches occurred of the first satellite Sputnik I (1957), the first NASA satellite Pioneer 1 (1958) and NASA’s first crewed Apollo mission (Apollo 7, 1968).

Experience Mars Mania at Space Center Houston

July 11th, 2014

SCH Logo Vert BWEver wonder what life would be like in a colony on Mars? Experience the challenges in a different aspect of Martian life every Wednesday in July when Space Center Houston holds Mars Mania Wednesdays in conjunction with its new exhibit “Facing Mars.”

Shoot hoops in one-third of Earth’s gravity, unleash interplanetary creativity, enjoy special presentations and release your imagination, all included with paid admission.

July 16 – Sports on Mars

Guests will be able to take their favorite sport to extreme altitudes when they dial down gravity. From shooting hoops or watching BMX stunts, it’s completely different in a reduced-gravity environment such as Mars.

July 23 – Robotics on Mars

Robots are paving the way for the human exploration of Mars and likely will be used by humans to help develop the first Mars settlement. Visitors are invited to learn the basics of robotics in special workshops as well as meet Cygnus 12, Space Center Houston’s new 8-foot-tall “android”.

July 30 – Martian Art

How will living on another planet affect our sense of creativity? Space Center Houston invites everyone to explore the cosmos through creative expression. Guests will be asked to challenge their senses by thinking outside of the atmosphere to draft new robotic designs, experience cosmic art and let the galaxy be their canvas!

For more information on Mars Mania Wednesdays or to purchase discounted tickets, go to www.spacecenter.org.