Every American flag has a story and this one is no different. In fact, this American flag was flown to space onboard “Exploration Test Flight 1,” on December 5, 2014 as part of the first test flight of the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle. Built by Lockheed Martin, the Orion capsule is part of NASA’s plan to put humans back on the Moon and eventually send them to Mars. This flag was part of Orion’s payload. The flight’s success was owed in part to Colorado companies, such as Denver based, United Launch Alliance (ULA) which provided the Delta IV Heavy rockets used in the launch.
By itself, the orbital journey of this flag is quite remarkable, but at the Space Foundation and Space Foundation Discovery Center, both located in Colorado Springs, sharing the remarkable is part of our everyday mission. As the country’s premier organization that inspires, educates, connects, and advocates for the global space community, we are proud to carry on Colorado Springs’ long history of involvement of pioneering and space exploration.
From the establishment of NORAD in 1958, to the establishment of Space Command and Space Force, Colorado Springs has always been a home to the space community. Established in 1983, Space Foundation has worked to connect the diverse sections of the space community – industry, government, military, education, international – and bring them together to share interests and work towards common goals. The culmination of these efforts is the annual Space Symposium, which brings over 15,000 attendees from around the world to Colorado Springs – making it not just the largest gathering of its type for the Pikes Peak region, but the most renowned assembly in the global space community.
But bringing the space community is just one part of Space Foundation’s mission – preparing for the future is the other. Working with teachers, students and parents around the world, Space Foundation offers in-person and online, digital programming, content and curricula to ready students of all ages to be future space explorers, innovators and entrepreneurs. All of these efforts are headquartered at Space Foundation Discovery Center (SFDC), the region’s only interactive museum and science center dedicated solely to space exploration. Located close to Garden of the Gods, SFDC connects space to our everyday lives and inspires the next generation of space explorers through its exhibits, immersive lab experiences, and educational programming.
Generously Submitted by Rachel English, Space Foundation Discovery Center Curator & Registrar