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Astronaut Jay Buckey headlines AerospaceFest at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

By Staff | Sep 13, 2023

CONCORD – AerospaceFest, New Hampshire’s annual aerospace festival, will take place on Saturday, September 16 from 10:30 – 4 p.m. at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Festival-goers will be able to engage in a wide variety of hands-on science and engineering activities for all ages at the festival, to enjoy the Discovery Center’s newest planetarium show, and to meet Astronaut Jay Buckey, Payload Specialist for NASA’s Neurolab Mission, Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine and Thayer School of Engineering and Director of the Space Medicine Innovations Laboratory at Dartmouth College. Admission to AerospaceFest is free, thanks to the generosity of the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium and NH Charitable Foundation.

Dr. Buckey holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a medical degree from Cornell University. In 1998, he spent 381 hours in space and orbited 256 times around the Earth aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, as he and his fellow astronauts served as both operators and subjects for 26 different life science experiments. Since his return to Earth, Dr. Buckey has continued his interest in the effects on human physiology and psychology of living and working in space. He has authored numerous publications on space physiology, cardiovascular regulation and echocardiographic techniques. As Director of the Space Medicine Innovations Lab, his research interests include bubble detection and sizing, smart medical systems, hearing assessment, aerospace medicine, undersea and hyperbaric medicine, technology and energy policy and motion sickness.

This year’s festival will be filled with science and engineering adventures including rocket launches, music from Mr. Aaron and DJ Nazzy, and a premiere of a new planetarium show for kids and families that explores what it takes to go to space, 3-2-1-Liftoff. The festival’s STEM activity stations throughout the Discovery Center’s building and grounds will be hosted by educators, students, scientists, aerospace specialists, pilots, and engineers from Elbit Systems of America, Suprock Technologies, Raytheon, NH Space Grant Consortium, Plymouth State University Meteorology Department, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, area robotics teams, the NH Astronomical Society and Belmont High Astronomy Club, the NH Aviation Museum, Seacoast Science Center, Squam Lakes Science Center, the NH Science Teachers Association, the NH Bureau of Aeronautics – and maybe even a visiting helicopter from Dartmouth Medical Center.

And in addition to his presentation, Dr. Buckey will present the 2023 Alex Higgins memorial Space Camp Scholarships to three young people who will be the 69th, 70th and 71st NH students to receive free tuition to the U.S. Space and Rocketry Camp in Huntsville AL since the Higgins Family, the Discovery Center and NH Charitable Foundation partnered together to create this scholarship program in 2001.

Dedicated to NH Space Pioneers Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepard, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space science, a full-dome, all-digital planetarium and a variety of science, technology, and engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups and lifelong learners. For more information, visit www.starhop.com


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