NASA Armstrong Advocacy Coalition to host annual meeting March 26

What is it: The NASA Armstrong Advocacy Coalition (NAAC) will host its annual meeting from 5-7 p.m. March 26 at EHOVE Career Center, 316 W. Mason Road, Milan.

The community-led organization works to ensure the long-term viability of Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility and enhance the region and state for future generations, says Jeff Huber, board president of the NAAC.

The NASA Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility (ATF) is located on 6,400 acres of secure land just outside of Sandusky.

“NAAC is focused on four key lines of effort: advocacy, education, marketing, and membership,” Huber says. “Together, these four lines give this organization the ability to ensure the continued focus on the development and utilization of this facility.”

The event’s keynote presentations will highlight those four key lines of effort, with Col. Douglas Wheelock and Col. Joseph E. Zeis addressing attendees.

Col. Zeis is the Senior Advisor for Aerospace and Defense, a cabinet-level position for Gov. DeWine. He retired from the U.S. Air Force with more than 26 years of service. Col. Wheelock has been with NASA since 1998 and accumulated more than 178 in space, including three unplanned spacewalks.

“Colonel Wheelock will give attendees a unique opportunity to hear stories from an experienced astronaut,” Huber says.

HX5-Sierra is the sponsor of this year's event.Why is it important: At the event, which is sponsored by HX5-Sierra, NAAC will provide updates on their activity and progress, information about ATF, raise awareness of aeronautics, aerospace, defense industry locally, and encourage new membership and support of NAAC & ATF, Huber says.

“Ohio is home to the world’s largest proving grounds for testing space flight hardware before launch,” he says. “The facilities at ATF have helped to make Ohio a leader in the aerospace industry.”

Private aerospace companies from around the globe have tested their flight articles in conditions that simulate the vacuum, heat and cold of space. SpaceX and Blue Origin have used ATF recently and NASA tested the Orion Crew Capsule in the world’s largest thermal-vacuum chamber at ATF, Huber notes.

“This capsule will return American astronauts to the moon and on to Mars in the year to come,” Huber says.

How to get involved: Those interested in joining the organization or simply attending the event can register for the annual meeting. The $35 registration fee will cover membership and the event fee for the year. Light appetizers and drinks will be served. To register, visit the NAAC Annual Meeting of Members web page.