Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, announced it will offer 19 non-profit organisations each a USD 1 million grant. The grants will inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. The recent auctions for the first paid seat on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket made the funds possible.
Each organisation has demonstrated a commitment to promote the future of living and working in space. Consequently, this commitment is to inspire the next generation to explore careers in space-related fields. Furthermore, they enhance the foundation’s ability to reach students, teachers, and communities. This way, the foundation can engage them in the excitement and adventure of innovation and space exploration.
Blue Origin’s CEO, Bob Smith, remarked that “Our recent auction for the first seat on New Shepard resulted in a donation of $28 million to our non-profit foundation, Club for the Future,” He added that “This donation is enabling Club for the Future to rapidly expand its reach by partnering with 19 organisations to develop and inspire the next generation of space professionals. Our generation will build the road to space, and these efforts will ensure the next generation is ready to go even further.”
The 19 organisations include:
- AstraFemina is a collective of prominent leaders, including astronauts, academic professionals, and industry innovators, who have made a significant difference in the world by choosing diverse careers in STEM fields. Its mission is simple but powerful. It is to be role models, reinforcing the message to today’s girls and young women that anything is possible. Likewise, its mission is to help bridge the gap between believing and achieving.
- The AIAA Foundation, connected to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), inspires and supports the next generation of aerospace professionals. From classroom to career, the AIAA Foundation enables innovative K-12 and university programming. This includes STEM classroom grants, scholarships, conferences, and hands-on competitions.
- The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) provides merit-based scholarships for college students majoring in STEM programs at more than 44 partner universities. Founded by the Mercury astronauts, ASF selects more than 50 astronaut scholars each year. They also provide programs focused on career development skills and virtual family activities. These programs consequently inspire K-12 students to change and positively innovate our future.
- The Brooke Owens Fellowship offers paid internships and mentorship to exceptional undergrad women and gender minorities in aerospace. Its spin-off, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, provides extraordinary black students with their first work experience in the aerospace industry, personalised mentorship and a cohort of similarly driven and talented young black people pursuing aerospace careers.
- Challenger Center created by the families of space shuttle Challenger STS-51L crew, it serves more than 250,000 K-12 students each year with experiential, hands-on education programs. The 40 Challenger learning centres deliver in-classroom and virtual simulation-based programs to bring STEM subjects to life. Students role-play real-world STEM careers and cultivate teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills.
- Higher Orbits delivers an experiential learning lab for secondary school students across the United States. It focuses on the multi-faceted worlds of space exploration, research and spaceflight to launch the next generation our world desires. The organisation facilitates activities from the novice to advanced level. This is by drawing from the Science Futures by Design curriculum at Higher Orbits, to promote STEM and prepare students for academic and career success.
- International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is the leading space advocacy body, including all leading space agencies, numerous companies, research institutions, universities, societies, associations, institutes and museums worldwide. Its Emerging Space Leaders Grant Program (ESL) enables students and young professionals to participate in the International Astronautical Congress, the United Nations/IAF Workshop and Space Generations Congress.
- The National Space Society (NSS) is dedicated to creating a spacefaring civilisation that provides a citizen’s voice on space exploration, development, and settlement. Furthermore, its mission is to promote social, economic, technological, and political change to expand civilisation beyond Earth, settle space, and use the resulting resources to build a hopeful and prosperous future.
- SciArt Exchange uses a science-integrated-with-art approach to help change the world through science and technology education, collaboration and innovation. It supports, prepares and convenes people of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations to discuss and potentially solve space, science, and technology challenges. This is by offering multi-disciplinary art contests, events, training, consulting, and community services.
- Space Camp provides a one-of-a-kind experience for campers of all ages from every state and more than 70 countries. Furthermore, its curriculum teaches STEM principles, emphasising leadership, teamwork, fun and creativity. Program instruction aligns with national science and math standards. Additionally, it is framed with an immersive experience amidst a backdrop of humankind’s greatest technological achievements in space hardware.
- Space Center Houston is dedicated to inspiring all generations through the wonders of space exploration. It is a leading science and space exploration learning centre and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center. The organisation is also a Smithsonian Affiliate and a certified autism centre. Space Center Houston empowers teachers and students to solve real-world challenges of human space exploration. This empowerment is via immersive learning experiences
- The Space For Art Foundation works with children in hospitals and refugee centres worldwide on its mission. Its mission is to unite a planetary community of children through the wonder of space exploration and the healing power of art. The Foundation aims to highlight the connection between personal and planetary health. Furthermore, it aims to raise awareness of our role as crewmates here on Spaceship Earth.
- Space For Humanity is building a foundation for an inclusive future in space. Furthermore, it is organising the planet’s first Sponsored Citizen Astronaut Program. In this program, leaders from any walk of life can apply for an opportunity to go to space. Space for Humanity sets the stage to create a better world, both here on Earth and throughout the cosmos. This is through its citizen spaceflight program, leadership training, and collaborative efforts to educate the public
- Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), in support of the United Nations Program on Space Applications, is a global non-governmental organisation and network which aims to focus on pragmatic space policy advice to policymakers based on the interests of students and young professionals interested in space from around the world. The SGAC network of members, volunteers and alumni have 16,000 members from more than 165 countries.
- Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is an international student-led organisation whose purpose is to promote space exploration and development through educational and engineering projects. SEDS fosters the development of future leaders and contributors in the expanding space industry. This is through individual chapters, enabling students to be connected and create networks.
- Teachers in Space is an organisation that stimulates student interest in STEM. It provides teachers with extraordinary space science experiences and industry connections. Furthermore, as a facilitator of personal and hands-on professional development workshops for STEM teachers, it sparks a transfer of passion. This transfer of passion prepares and encourages students to pursue further careers in the space industry.
- The Mars Society is an international organisation devoted to furthering the exploration and settlement of Mars by both public and private means. Its activities include broad public outreach to spread its vision. It also includes STEM programs, student engineering design and Mars rover competitions, conferences, publications, and scientific projects. Furthermore, it includes Mars Analog Research Stations. This is to learn how we might best live, work, and explore on the Red Planet.
- The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. The Society works to advance space science and exploration. They do this through education, innovation, advocacy, and global collaboration. Its mission is to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration. CEO Bill Nye leads the society. it is powered by space enthusiasts around the globe,
- The Space Frontier Foundation comprises a diverse, multinational array of space activists, scientists, engineers, media, political professionals, entrepreneurs, and passionate citizens focused on unleashing the power of free enterprise and leading united humanity permanently into the solar system. Through conferences, speakers, policy papers, awards and prizes, they are actively advancing the cause of “New Space.”
Club for the Future will use the remaining funds from the auction to continue its work on its space-focused curriculum and Postcards to Space program. For more information about Club for the Future, visit ClubforFuture.org. Blue Origin’s first human flight will take place on July 20. For more details about the mission and how to watch the launch live, follow @BlueOrigin on Twitter or sign up for updates at BlueOrigin.com.
Faleti Joshua is an avid lover of space in all its incomprehensible nature. He holds a LL.B degree, and is a pessimist in his free time.