Michigan Space Forum in Traverse City Allows Students to Show Work to Industry Professionals

“With things that revolutionize how we look at science and technology, all of those started in the heart and mind of an ordinary kid.”

Students from all over Michigan and even Florida came to Traverse City Saturday to let their imaginations run out of this world.

Saturday was the final day for the second annual Michigan Space Forum hosted by Atlas Space Operations.

And Saturday the spotlight was on the kids

“Rocket scientist. Astronaut, Engine responsible engineer,” students said.

These may sound like big goals, but these students are ready to achieve them.

“It’s the most exciting panel because these young boys and girls, men and women are actually the future of our space industry,” says the chief strategy officer of Atlas Space Operations, Mike Carey.

Students ages 11 to 20 got a chance to show industry leaders what they are learning.

“We recently did a test to pioneer the future of drone traffic. It was a three way communication between ground station, a drone and a balloon that had a satellite on it,” says Aydn McHugh, part of Atlas Space Explorers.

“CubSat one is testing the viability of using capacitors as a new electrical power system for satellites as compared to the conventional lithium ion pollermor batteries,” says Theodore Ouyang, middle school student from Palm Beach Florida.

Theodore is part of the first middle school team to be selected by NASA for one of their initiatives.

“We applied to NASA’s cube sat launch initiative, which is primarily a program for industries, NASA installations and universities and we were the first middle school selected in the spring of 2017,” science teacher and CEO of BlueCube Aerospace Kevin Simmons said.

The message was the same across the board: embrace failure.

“Never accept no, and you see that in their eyes, they love it, they’re passionate about it and it’s infectious,” Carey said.

And these future leaders even got to hear from a NASA astronaut.

“Just keep trying, perseverance. Learn from your mistakes, and when you encounter a failure, not to be afraid of it, but sort of embrace it, like I’m going to learn something from this and move forward,” says NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock.

McHugh says he’s walking away with a lot more to think about.

“It feels like I can do a lot more now that I have this knowledge. It feels like I’m more open and I’m able to understand more stuff,” he said.

“Be curious about the world around you and then change the world,” Wheelock said.