Kathy Beauford has been an aerospace educator for 19 years as Louisiana's Director of External Aerospace Education for the Civil Air Patrol and as a NASA Solar System Ambassador. She has received 61 awards for Aerospace Education and 7 for general education. She has won the 2014 Major General Jeanne Holm Aerospace Education Officer of the Year, naming her as #1 in the nation. She has won the prestigious National Frank Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award. Her favorite award is from the scientists of SIGMA XI, the research society, "for the teaching of science." In the last 4 years, her extensive exhibits and presentation have reached 30,352 attendees and her 285 articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet. Her A Teacher's Companion to the Space Station: A Multi-disciplinary Resource has been distributed internationally. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology appointed Kathy to a NASA Solar System Ambassadorship, one of 530 in the nation. Kathy continues to be a force in the promotion of aerospace education and the U.S. space program.
Colonel Beauford uses the SARSAT satellite system as a Navigator for Air & Ground Search & Rescue with the US Air Force Auxiliary. She applied to be an astronaut for the Teacher in Space Program. Her saying is "America needs SPACE to GROW!"
Les Johnson is an author, a scientist and a NASA technologist. Les has authored or co-authored several popular science books including Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (2014), Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, and Sky Alert: When Satellites Fail. He is also a science fiction writer; his books include Going Interstellar and (Mars) Rescue Mode, with co-author Ben Bova. He recently received the Watkins Award for his science writing.
In his day job, Les serves as the Technical Advisor for NASA's Advanced Concepts Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center. He is the Principal Investigator for the NASA Near-Earth Asteroid Scout mission, a Co-Investigator for the European InflateSail solar sail demonstration mission, and was the Principal Investigator of NASA's ProSEDS space tether experiment. During his career at NASA, he served as the Manager for the Space Science Programs and Projects Office, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and the Interstellar Propulsion Research Project. He thrice received NASA's Exceptional Achievement Medal and has 3 patents.
He was recently interviewed on Public Radio's Science Friday and has appeared in numerous space-related documentaries on The Science Channel, The Discovery Channel and NatGeo. And, yes, he is a long time science fiction fan - he attended his first con when he was a senior in high school.