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Activity Kit - Formula for Success in Space Exploration Day/U.S. Space Observance Activities
The future success of U.S. Space Observance, and its related Space Exploration Day Holiday, will be dependent on interrelated community public events, state legislative activities, an official federal status by Presidential Executive Order, communications media participation, and commercial marketing.
Make sure to have local business leaders, news media representatives, and political leaders, as well as space activists, and space industry people, included on your planning committee. Please coordinate your activities with J. David Baxter by contacting us.
It is our goal to establish July 20th of each year as Space Exploration Day. This day will be recognized as a non-paid holiday, with a legal status equal to Flag Day. At this point we will not press to have a paid federal calendar holiday. That status would cost millions of dollars in taxpayer's money, and we don't presently have the same political momentum that Martin Luther King's Birthday had, with the U.S. Congress, and the White House.
In 1984, Congress passed a resolution establishing July 20th of that year, as the Space Exploration Day non-paid commemorative holiday.
Since then, Congress has given the President of the United States, the authority to create non-paid public holidays. The White House receives hundreds of requests for special holidays every year. These ideas are largely viewed by the White House Staff, as being frivolous. So the extensive White House staff tends to reject all suggestions for new holidays, as a matter of policy.
For Space Exploration Day Holiday, it is necessary to have a U.S. Senator, or State Governor, contact the President directly with the proposal. That can also be a slow involved process trying to work through their staffs, to get this accomplished.
The current goal is to get the President of the United States to issue an executive order to establish Space Exploration Day non-paid holiday, and its related U.S. Space Observance permanently.
White House staff members resist the Space Exploration Day Holiday, due to hundreds of requests they receive for frivolous holidays, every year. The Space Exploration Day Holiday is unique in that the mission of Apollo 11 was one of the greatest events of the 20th century. With the President promoting manned return to the Moon, in the next decade, a Space Exploration Day Holiday would serve the President's, and nation's interests very well. In reality, it deserves the same priority that the Martin Luther King's Birthday Holiday received.
Much can also be done at the state level, to establish a permanent Space Exploration Day non-paid holiday, and a nine day U.S. Space Observance. This can be done through supporters getting legislation passed in their state legislatures.
In 1985, the Ohio State Legislature established a permanent July 20th Space Exploration Day non-paid Holiday, and a permanent July 16th – 24th Ohio Space Observance. A year earlier, the state of Kansas passed similar permanent legislation, but didn't officially state Space Exploration Day as a holiday. A similar resolution was also passed by the Arizona State Legislature.
Remember July 16 – 24 commemorates the nine day Apollo 11 Moon Mission, from launch date to splashdown date. July 20th is the anniversary of the first Moonwalk. It is called Space Exploration Day, due to the anniversary of the 1976 unmanned Viking Mars Landing being on the same date.
All that is needed, in Kansas and Arizona, is a brief resolution stating that the 1984 resolution for a permanent July 20th Space Exploration Day is recognized, and that it is hereby amended to recognize this day as an official non-paid holiday, of a legal status equal to Flag Day. In all other states, except Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio, a draft resolution needs to be given to a sponsor in the Senate, and House of the State Legislatures.
If a state resolution gets stuck in committee, get respected members of the community, especially key pro-space Republican or Democratic Party leaders, contacting key legislators, to get the resolution out of committee.
Contact Space Exploration Day Holiday founder, David Baxter, to get information on AIAA sections, and National Space Society chapters in the state, that could help in letter writing campaigns, if necessary.
Once the legislation is passed, follow-up will be important to get the holiday publicly recognized. Send out press releases to radio stations, television stations.
Also contact the state's Jaycees, Chambers of Commerce, and merchants associations. The legislation in Ohio and Kansas was easy to pass, without opposition.
Send copies of the passed legislation to the state's national Senators and Congressmen, to encourage their support for future progress in the Space Program.
COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA PARTICIPATION
The most important means of reaching a mass audience of the general public is through the radio, television, and print media. Blockbuster Space Science Fiction Movies can also inspire the general public with a vision for the future. At the national level, there are possibilities, especially on PBS, for space theme documentaries that show where we have been in space, and express a vision for the future. Emphasis on the social-economic impact of space technology, is necessary to pacify skeptics of the Space Program's value to humanity.
For Space Exploration Day Holiday, commercial networks could also feature live entertainment specials.
National television specials could follow the following possible themes: Documentaries on Our Future in Space; Space Heritage Specials; Space Science Fiction Specials; Live Entertainment Specials. Space theme cartoons should also be included.
Development of space theme Space Exploration Day Holiday music would be helpful, if well done. The goal should be to reach the top 40 music market.
National and International Magazines can have feature write-ups, during the July 16 – 24 period, that express the social-economic, scientific, and technological benefits to humanity that will occur from increased progress in the Space Frontier. Again, they can also review where we are coming from, in terms of space benefits to humanity.
At the community level, radio talk shows, radio and television public service announcements, local television magazines, feature newspaper articles, and letters to the editor, can express the message we provide them with. This can be done on only a few weeks notice. It is also suggested that local companies buy advertising time, in exchange for space theme public service announcements being shown at prime times. Of course local space theme documentaries will require months of advanced planning.
Television programs are especially beneficial in reaching large audiences in the summer time. Networks now have current programming to attract larger audiences; while in the past; only re-runs were shown during the summer months. So summer is now a good time for advertisers to advertise on television.
Much of the public will watch the space theme programming as the least objectionable viewing, if they are less interested in what is showing on the other channels.
A sharp, dramatic, fast paced, visually oriented space theme television program will attract the largest audiences.
A permanent legal status for Space Exploration Day Holiday would increase the interest shown by the communications media, and advertisers.
The Space Exploration Day Holiday will be as popular with the public, as its related commercial market appeal. The popularity of the holiday will help advance public interest in the Space Program.
The general public has more free time for celebration during the summer months, than in other seasons of the year.
Space Exploration Day will have to some-how appeal to a wide cultural base, with traditions that run deeper than politics, appeal to all mankind, and extend beyond space exploration alone.
This holiday should trigger the same values that got us to the Moon. Space Exploration Day will be a time when people make personal Apollo-Like commitments, to help make the world a better place to live.
The holiday traditions connected with Space Exploration Day will have to be fun, economical, and easy to use, to be successful. Families must be able to look forward to these traditions every year. Their creation will involve the best in creative imagination.
Working through the Jaycees, Chambers of Commerce, and retail merchant associations, support for promoting the Space Exploration Day Holiday should be sought. Space Exploration Day sales is one way they can participate; but creation of commercially successful holiday traditions should be encouraged where possible. Space Exploration Day sales could emphasize products containing spinoffs from the Space Program, or technologies descended from space spinoffs. Personal computers are one example.
Public celebration is necessary for the best possible success for the Space Exploration Day Holiday. Some of our traditional holidays, such as Halloween, and Valentine's Day, have no official federal or state status, but these holidays have become fun, popular contributions to our culture, and are recognized by commercial sources, as being important holidays. A successful holiday will require both a logical foundation and creative energy. Space Exploration Day needs more official status than Halloween and Valentine's Day.
It will be easier to establish the holiday, if it first becomes official by presidential executive order and proclamation, or by passage in state legislatures. The news media, and potential advertisers, are more likely to notice, and promote the holiday, if it first becomes official.
It will have a more serious side to it, to add to its importance. Ideas derived from popular futuristic space science fiction could add to the popularity of the holiday. The holiday needs to become fun for everyone, including, if possible, those skeptical toward the Space Program.
The most popular holidays have a purpose far deeper than the celebrations. Like Independence Day, Space Exploration Day will represent the best in the American patriotic spirit. The holiday will stress freedom, brotherhood, discovery and progress.
The nine day U.S. Space Observance will serve as a nine day holiday season for Space Exploration Day. This includes the full Apollo 11 anniversary, from launch date to splashdown.
THE FAMILY LEVEL
The most important level of Space Exploration Day Holiday participation will be at the level of individual families. This will also be the most difficult goal to achieve. Mass audiences of people will have to be contacted, and the families will have to be given activities that they will look forward to.
Space Exploration Day will appeal to the scientific curiosity and spirit of adventure that comes naturally to children. It will also involve showing a positive vision for the future. On a more general plane, everyone has the ability to build toward a more positive future.
The following are my ideas for family activities:
- July 16th, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Launch. The first day of U.S. Space Observance. Have Steak and Eggs for Breakfast. On the morning of the Apollo astronaut's launches, they always had steak and eggs for breakfast.
- Sometime during the July 16 – 24 U.S. Space Observance period, have the family take a nature walk or hike to celebrate the spirit of exploration.
- On July 20th Space Exploration Day Holiday, in the morning, Children should receive one science education toy.
- On July 20th, family members should enjoy mooncakes, milk and cheese balls; especially Swiss cheese, with Ritz Crackers, and gaze at the Moon, while remembering the fact that astronauts have been there, and will return there in the future. The food ideas take after Moon mythology. Mooncakes are borrowed from the Chinese Moon Festival; but Space Exploration Day Moon Cakes, should not follow the same recipe, as Chinese Mooncakes. Each tradition needs to remain unique to its culture. I would suggest a lighter texture, like cup cakes, for Space Exploration Day Mooncakes. And don't forget the Tang, the breakfast drink of the Apollo astronauts.
- On July 24th, the end of U.S. Space Observance, have dinner under the stars.
- Attend community level Space Exploration Day events.
- Have space theme house decorations.
- Have children's Space Science Fiction theme parties, on Space Exploration Day.
- A holiday mascot for children would be useful; but it would be important that the mascot not detract from the more serious aspects of the holiday. The main thing to remember is Armstrong's first steps onto the surface of the Moon, and other aspects of the spirit of the holiday. The holiday can also have religious overtones, like many holidays, being as the creations of outer space are in God's domain.
- In the USA and US territories, display the American Flag on Space Exploration Day. Perhaps even plant the Flag, the way Armstrong and Aldrin did on the surface of the Moon.
COMMUNITY PUBLIC EVENTS
In the past, community public events have been the main thrust of U.S. Space Observance/Spaceweek activities. Space related organizations set up exhibits, show films, and have guest speakers, all open to the general public. Much of this activity happens in planetariums and science museums. Those events tend to preach to the choir. Other related events should take place in shopping malls, where a good cross section of the general public is present.
If news media coverage only announces the events, without stressing space benefits, this valuable approach to a large audience, won't be used as effectively as it needs to be. Real success will motivate thousands of people to contact their congressmen and senators in support of a stronger Space Program. This still counts as tax free non-profit activity, if the space activism is an educational activity.
Opinion Polls have shown that a majority of well educated individuals support a strong Space Program. The public at large doesn't understand the low percentage of federal budget, and high economic returns to the nation, a strong Space Program provides.
In conjunction with a stressing of practical space benefits, the public needs to see how lowering space transportation costs, and increased space development will eventually make possible public space transportation, and a literal space industrial revolution.
Space Exploration Day sales, and public Moonwalk Festivals could bring increased celebration from the general public, and with it, possibly an increased interest in the Space Program.