Corporate Rocket Launch preps for liftoff

by Jeff Pederson
Sheboygan Falls News Editor


SPACESPORT SHEBOYGAN is set to hold its first-ever Corporate Rocket Launch Challenge Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13, in Sheboygan. The two-day event, which is open to all corporate teams in and around Sheboygan County, is modeled after the Rockets for Schools event for school-age kids, which has enjoyed a highly successful run over the past 20 plus years. – Photo by Ken Eberhardt of Sheboygan SPACESPORT SHEBOYGAN is set to hold its first-ever Corporate Rocket Launch Challenge Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13, in Sheboygan. The two-day event, which is open to all corporate teams in and around Sheboygan County, is modeled after the Rockets for Schools event for school-age kids, which has enjoyed a highly successful run over the past 20 plus years. – Photo by Ken Eberhardt of Sheboygan For the first time in its six-year history, Spaceport Sheboygan is inviting businesses professionals in all forms of industry to participate in the inaugural Corporate Rocket Launch Challenge Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13.

The new corporate fundraising event for Spaceport Sheboygan is based on the popular Rockets for Schools launch held each spring in Sheboygan for over 20 years.

“This event came about in looking back at the 20 plus years of the highly successful Rockets for Schools program and our Elementary Rocket Launch program,” Spaceport Sheboygan Executive Director Brian Ewenson said. “We were looking for a program that would engage the community in STEM (Science-Technology- Engineering-Mathematics).


SPACESPORT SHEBOYGAN is set to hold its inaugural Corporate Rocket Launch Challenge Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13, in Sheboygan. – Submitted photo SPACESPORT SHEBOYGAN is set to hold its inaugural Corporate Rocket Launch Challenge Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13, in Sheboygan. – Submitted photo “Our fundraising programs previously involved dinners, keynote speakers etc., which have been successful, but this time we wanted to engage local companies to not only raise funds for the museum, but be active participants in the type of programming we offer,” he said.

Much like how the Rockets for Schools event engages school-age kids to come together to design, build and launch their own rocket, the Corporate Rocket Launch will follow a similar format.

“We are encouraging corporate teams to build a kit rocket and develop a payload representing their industry, to be launched from the South Pier on Saturday, October 13th,” Ewenson said. “Teams will comprise a variety of departments, not just engineers, we would like the marketing department to create the brand for the rocket’s paint job, establish payloads based on their industry.”

Ewenson, who is a former astronaut trainer in the U.S. Space Shuttle program and an aerospace educator, is hoping to attract a strong field of corporate teams to the first-ever Spaceport Sheboygan Corporate Rocket Launch.

“Being our first annual event of this type, we are targeting 10 teams participating from the local area and as far as Milwaukee and Madison,” Ewenson said. “Registrations are underway and we have seven companies that have already expressed interest in flying with us.”

The two-day event begins with a meet-and-greet and team presentations from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, at 3 Sheeps Brewing Tap Room, located at 1837 North Ave. in Sheboygan.

On Saturday, Oct. 13, each participating corporate team will launch their rocket from the South Pier area at 229 South Pier Drive in Sheboygan from 10 a.m. to noon.

A post-launch statistical review and awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, from 2-4 p.m. at Pier 17, located at 539 Riverfront Drive in Sheboygan.

“On Friday night, teams will come together to present their concept, payload and goals/ objectives,” he said. “ After a safety review, the rockets will be launched on Saturday and after the launches, we will gather to reward the teams that had the best paint job/branding, those rockets that came closest to the 4,000-foot altitude goal and also the most successful payloads.”

Ewenson, who has been with Spaceport Sheboygan for the past four years serving as director of education and now the executive director, says the new event provides a great opportunity for companies to work on a real-world project in a competitive, yet fun, team-building environment.

“This program is a fantastic way to have corporate team building across departments, be able to work with diverse workforce and not only set goals and objectives, but also work real world engineering and design problems to completion,” Ewenson said. “In reality, this mimics the real work environment.”

Although it does not currently have a physical space to operate as a permanent museum, Spaceport Sheboygan remains highly active with a variety of outreach programs.

“Spaceport does all of it’s programs on an outreach basis,” Ewenson said. “We do inschool presentations with local, statewide and even nationwide programs. We go into schools with actual NASA artifacts and do presentations titled ‘Living and Working in Space-No Shoes, No Shower No Problem,’ Skype presentations to Space Camp South Africa, special events such as the Wisconsin Science Festival, Space Day and Science Cafes.

“We are supporting teams this year across the state with First Lego League as the theme is Space Exploration. On Sunday Sept.16, I will be presenting to FLL teams countywide at Oostburg High School from 2-4 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 11, we will be partnering with Marcus Theater Sheboygan to have an Apollo display table and museum information at the premiere of the film ‘First Man,’ a biopic on Neil Armstrong. On Thursday. Nov. 1, I am presenting at the Mead PublicLibrary. Although we do not have a building, we are out in the community and beyond promoting STEM education, using aerospace as the motivator.”

All funds raised during the Corporate Rocket Launch will be used to help support Spaceport

Sheboygan STEm programming and in its efforts to secure a new location for its museum.

“In May of 2017, all three businesses at 802 Blue Harbor Drive, including Spacesport Sheboygan, were asked to leave,” Ewenson said. “At this time, Spaceport Sheboygan is endeavoring to not only continue it’s programs to schools, community groups and the general public, but also to acquire a new permanent space to reopen the museum.

“Fundraising is designed to continue programming and move towards a new physical structure for the museum,” he said.

For more information or to register a corporate team, contact Brian Ewenson by phone at 210-595-0723, via email at brian.ewenson@spaceportsheboygan.com or by visiting the Spacesport Sheboygan Facebook page or website spacesportsheboygan.com


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