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Former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe to Keynote Aerospacefest at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

On Saturday, May 4, from 10:30 – 4 p.m., the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord will present AerospaceFest, New Hampshire’s annual aerospace festival. Visitors will be able to engage in a wide variety of hands-on science and engineering activities at the festival, to enjoy the Discovery Center’s newest planetarium show, and to meet former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe.


NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe celebrates the successful landing of the Mars Rover at JPL 2004


A professor at Syracuse University, Sean O’Keefe has had a storied career as Secretary of the Navy under President George H.W. Bush, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, and then the 10thAdministrator of NASA, serving in this critical role from December 2001-February 2005. During his time at the helm, O’Keefe oversaw creation of the Vision for Space Exploration, which guided NASA’s efforts in human and robotic exploration of space, the heart-wrenching loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia’s crew and the changes in safety protocols to safely return the Shuttle program to flight, and the successful landing and robotic exploration of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars.


This year’s festival will be filled with science and engineering adventures, and a premiere of the new planetarium show celebrating the 50thanniversary of the first moon landing, CapCom Go!STEM activity stations throughout the Center will be hosted by science center educators and scientists, aerospace specialists, pilots, and engineers from Raytheon, Plymouth State University Meteorology Department, Elbit Systems of America, Project Management, Inc. – NH Chapter, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, area FIRST robotics teams, the NH Astronomical Society, Mad Science, NASA and more.


The Discovery Center’s Countdown Cafe will be open for lunch and snacks. The NH Astronomical Society will be out on the lawn with telescopes, observing the Sun and Concord skyline (pending clear skies). Sean O’Keefe will announce the 2019 winners of the Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship awards: full tuition, room and board for three NH students for simulated astronaut training at the U.S. Space & Rocketry Center in Huntsville, Alabama. O’Keefe will follow the awards ceremony with a presentation on space exploration. The all-inclusive cost for admission to AerospaceFest is $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, $12 for children ages 3-12, and free for Discovery Center members and children ages 0-2. Tickets are available now on the Discovery Center’s website.


The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, a state-of-the-art 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


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