Archive for February 2020

Judy Cara - Planetarium & STEM Director

February 28, 2020 @ 9:01 am

In this episode:


We meet Judy Cara, Project Manager for the Planetarium and STEM Center at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Judy recently oversaw a massive makeover of the planetarium, which had been closed to the public for 15 years and reopened on March 3, 2019. Their attendance goal for the first year was 25,000 visitors, and as they approach their one-year mark, they’ve had 41,000 visitors and counting.


In this conversation, Judy talks about how she was initially more interested in the arts than in STEM fields, and the experiences she had that changed her interests. She also discusses the new technology and other upgrades visitors will enjoy at the planetarium, points out that not all the shows they present are just space related, and how, beyond just visual presentations, the planetarium also offers hands-on STEM activities for field trip classes.


To illustrate how inspiring a visit to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Planetarium can be, Judy says, “Just last week we had Colonel Nick Hague here, who is a graduate and an astronaut. And he talks about how, when he was six years old, he went to that planetarium with his dad and that’s what convinced him he should apply to become a cadet, and then subsequently an astronaut.”


Free shows are held for planetarium visitors Monday through Friday, at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. For details and things to know before visiting the planetarium, visit


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

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Alan Ladwig - Author, Part Two

February 12, 2020 @ 8:39 am

In this episode:


We continue our conversation with Alan Ladwig, the author of “See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight.” Between 1981 and 1990, Alan held a variety of positions at NASA Headquarters, including Director of Special Projects for the Office of Exploration and Manager of the Shuttle Student Involvement Program. Alan was also Manager of NASA’s Space Flight Participant program in the 1980s, which included the “Teacher in Space” project, most famously known for its selection of Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher and civilian to be chosen to participate in spaceflight.


In this second part of our conversation, Alan discusses how Russia played an early role in paving the way for civilian passengers to travel to the International Space Station, the plans that four companies currently have to develop commercial space stations for civilian use, how the arts are regarded within the space community, and how the prohibitive cost of space travel hinders the democratization of space.


In discussing how high costs prevent more access to space, Alan said, “We want space to be an environment that is experienced by a wider range of people. Not just scientists, engineers... Not trained astronauts and cosmonauts, but people from all walks of life. Because … space is just an extension of who we are.”


For more information on Alan and his current pursuits, visit his website at, and visit his Facebook page to view his space-inspired artwork. Alan’s book is available for purchase at


Click here for Part One of this conversation.


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

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