LISBON – Students at Lisbon Community School joined with more than 500 other schools around the world by signing Student Signatures in Space posters to celebrate “Space Day 2005” on May 5.

Student Signatures in Space S3 provides elementary and middle school students the opportunity to send their digitized signatures into space and feel a personal involvement with the crew and the mission. Jointly sponsored by NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp., S3 is one program of the award-winning Space Day educational initiative.

“Student Signatures in Space is a lot of fun for kids as well as teachers, but more importantly, it sparks student interest in the space program, creates a connection to math and science studies, and brings it all home on a personal level,” said April Tensen, coordinator of the S3 program.

The space shuttle mission to carry this year’s signatures will be selected after NASA returns to flight this spring. After the signatures return from space, the poster will be returned to Lisbon Community School along with a flight certificate and photo of the crew that carried the signatures into space. Since the program began in 1997, more than 2.5 million student signatures have flown in space.

Helping Space Day to grow and expand is the special mission of the Space Day Foundation. The nonprofit organization seeks to provide a financial base for future and ongoing programs as well as a platform from which diverse organizations can launch new educational initiatives.

The Space Day Foundation is guided by a Council of Advisers composed of leaders in the fields of aerospace, education, science, business and government. At the helm are Sen. John Glenn and Dr. Vance D. Coffman, chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, both of whom consider the advancement of math, science and technology education to be a national priority.

The mission of Space Day is to use space-related activities to inspire and prepare youth for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Lisbon Community School served as host for a celebration this year. The day began with a school-wide assembly that included dignitaries from the community, state and national level.

Dr. James Garvin, keynote speaker, came from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he serves as NASA’s chief scientist. Also in attendance was Dr. Peter Schultz, a co-investigator for NASA’s Deep Impact Project; Brian Ewenson, director of education from the Pima Museum in Tucson, Ariz.; John Weiss, NASA education specialist from the Goddard Space Center in Maryland; Sen. Susan Collins; representatives for Sen. Olympia Snowe; Capt. Mike Stanton, supervisor of shipbuilding at BIW; and Sharon Eggleston, northeast regional coordinator for Space Day activities.

Others in attendance represented the Teacher in Space Program, the Astronomical Society of Northern New England, the Mars Society, the Challenger Learning Center in Bangor, the Maine Space Grant Consortium and local amateur astronomers.

Many came prepared to spend the majority of the day in classrooms with students from kindergarten through sixth grade.

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