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No. 1 aerospace company Lockheed Martin is pushing space exploration, from the grass roots up, by sponsoring the first Space Day on May 22.

Aimed specifically at getting kids interested in exploring the cosmos, Space Day will feature a presentation in more than 2,000 schools nationwide.

Space Day's focus on kids and schools differs from other efforts to promote space exploration. Another endeavor called "Mission Home," which was kicked off last year and is backed by 16 aerospace companies including Lockheed, is adult-oriented, trying to get consumers interested in federally funded space programs (AA, April 1, '96).


With Space Day, "We want to bring space to life for kids and stimulate their imaginations," said James Fetig, national media relations director for Lockheed.

"The next generation will be developing space through companies like ours," he said, "and we want to encourage kids to study math and science because the space industry has a severe shortage of qualified people in these areas."

DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, agency of record for Lockheed's estimated $10 million TV and print image campaign, hatched the Space Day idea, Mr. Fetig said.

The program's centerpiece is "The Theory of Wow," an "electronic field trip" targeting kids between ages 7 and 14. The live, 50-minute multimedia presentation about the solar system will be beamed into classrooms May 22.

The presentation was created by Challenger Center, a space education organization.

In addition to the Space Day presentation, students will be encouraged to participate in a live nationwide discussion through e-mail and fax, as well as through the program's Internet site (www.

Posters, print ads, radio spots and a public relations effort tout the program with the help of the National Science Teachers Association, Mr. Fetig said. The campaign is themed "Embrace space." Porter/Novelli is assisting with PR.

Former astronaut T.K. Mattingly, of Apollo 13 fame, also will help publicize the program in appearances and events. Mr. Mattingly now works for Lockheed as VP-reusable launch vehicles in its aeronautic sector.

Lockheed said 1997 marks the beginning of a series of similar educational efforts it will support in schools, science centers and museums Lockheed also is amenable to bringing in co-sponsors.

"We want to enlist the support of many partners in the space community including our competitors, many of which will be supporting the cause," Mr. Fetig said.

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