Space Ambassadors

Educating and Enlightening People

Space Ambassadors Location

Malibu

Session Date and Time
Saturday, May 25 @ 2 pm - 6 pm

While we all love space, not everyone who surrounds us in daily life understand its importance to our collective future. The NSS Space Ambassadors have been changing minds and expanding mental horizons for decades, and you too can become one. With minimal training and moderate commitment, NSS Space Ambassadors travel the country, and sometimes the world, educating and enlightening people about the critical importance of space and the human settlement of the solar system. Join the movement and become a critical part of the greatest adventure in human history. The NSS needs you!

Space Ambassadors  Session Chair Info

Space Ambassadors Program Director National Space Society

Stevan Akerley is a retired aerospace engineer from Pratt & Whitney, UTC, with 40 years of manufacturing and engineering experience with automated N/C equipment and measurement sensor systems in manufacturing applications. He also has experience in precision manufacturing, machine measurement, CAD CAM software development, quality assurance, and tool and equipment design. Stevan was involved in project and program management on multiple engine programs.

He holds an AA degree in liberal arts, a BS degree in industrial technology, and an MBA degree in Management Information Systems and International Business. He also holds a Computer Information Technology Certificate from Central Connecticut State University and is currently serving as a Space Ambassador with the National Space Society.

Space Ambassadors Presentation Speakers

President & CEO, Xtraordinary Innovative Space Partnerships, Inc
Presentation Title: Update on Oasis Project, KSI
Presentation Title: AI-Robots Working on Lunar Surface

Gary Barnhard is currently serving as the President & CEO of Xtraordinary Innovative Space Partnerships, Inc. (XISP-Inc), a start-up company focusing on International Space Station technology development. He is also the owner and president of Barnhard Associates, LLC (BALLC), a systems engineering consulting firm and Internet Service Provider (Xisp.net) located in Cabin John, Maryland. His extensive career spans over four decades as a robotic, computer, and space systems engineer involved in a broad range of projects in these fields.

In the space advocacy community, Barnhard has been a dynamic presence. He co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the Maryland Alliance for Space Colonization (MASC), an influential chapter of the L5 Society. He also established the Space Development Foundation and has been a proactive public speaker on space advocacy issues, organizing educational programs and conferences, and participating actively in various space advocacy organizations.

Gary Barnhard completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Maryland College Park in 1982, combining Aerospace Engineering and Materials Science with graduate studies in science policy, solar physics, and artificial intelligence/knowledge-based systems. His professional journey includes roles such as Space Systems Engineer and Information Systems Architect for EER Systems, and Senior Space Systems Engineer on the Grumman Space Station Systems Engineering and Integration Contract (SSEIC). He has received recognition for his contributions, including awards from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.

As a life member of the National Space Society, Barnhard has contributed significantly to the organization, having held positions such as Executive Director, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Vice President, and currently, Director of Strategic Relationships on the NSS Board of Directors. His passion for space exploration and advocacy is evident in his belief that the National Space Society plays a crucial role in shaping a spacefaring society and future.

Author, NSS Space Ambassadors
Presentation Title: Microbes in Space

Freelance writer Loretta Hall has written six award-winning books about the human experience of space exploration. She also writes space-related articles for magazines including Ad Astra, and she reviews books for the NSS website. Loretta was one of five award winners in Phase 1 of the NSS Space Ambassadors program, which ended in 2016. Since then, she has served on the NSS subcommittee that developed and administers Phase 2 of the Space Ambassadors program.

CEO, BLUECUBE Aerospace
Presentation Title: Educational Benefits of PocketQubes and CubeSats in a Pre-College Setting
Presentation Title: The WolfSat-1: Novel Biological CubeSat Mission led by the Wolfpack CubeSat Team

Kevin L. Simmons is a professional educator, author, principal investigator and Congressional advocate. He founded BLUECUBE Aerospace, Inc., co-created the Aerospace and Innovation Academy, Inc. (AIA), and currently leads the Wolfpack CubeSat Development team (WCDT) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Simmons is Principal Investigator for two NASA-selected missions selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) in 2017 and 2019. He led the first middle school team to launch a CubeSat on December 3rd, 2018 and his WCDT was the only K-12 entity selected nationwide by the 2019 CSLI. He is trained as a biochemist, and has worked in industry, military and academia. Simmons completed two years as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow and four years as a senior policy analyst in the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate. He serves in a leadership role in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Palm Coast section and as a member of the AIAA SmallSat Technical Committee. Simmons is the current president of the Florida Association for the Gifted, and Area Director for the Florida Association of Science Teachers, member of the inaugural Limitless Space Institute Educator Fellowship, a National Space Society Space Ambassador, a 2023 NASA AAPT HEAT Physics Ambassador, a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, and an ISS Educator Ambassador. Simmons recent national-level awards include the National Space Council Space Worker Hall of Fame, AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award, Dwyer Award for Excellence in STEM education, and Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.

PhD Student, University of Minnesota
Presentation Title: Regolith to Soils

Adam Williams is a PhD Student at the University of Minnesota in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. His PhD research topic the transformation of lunar regolith using biology to drive large scale agriculture in space. Adam’s professional work is as an Engineering lead and consultant specializing in test, V&V and program and project management. He has worked in many industries including healthcare, medical devices, finance and banking, cybersecurity, hardware, aerospace and industrial systems. The focus is on the development of high-quality, low-risk products for customers.


Other Sessions at ISDC 2025

Preserving Aerospace Heritage
Infrastructure is the Backbone of Civilization
Space Ventures Stride Toward Lucrative Horizons
Newest and Most Exciting Ideas
Growing Life Beyond Earth: Innovating for Sustainable Space Habitats
...Some More Traveled Than Others
A Martian Renaissance is at Hand
How Will We Best Explore, Prospect, and Settle Our Natural Satellite?
Discuss Comprehensive Solutions Planetary Defense
Learn More About the History of Tomorrow
Educating and Enlightening People
Exciting Technology that will Revolutionize Access to Space
Global Collaboration for Outer Space
Medical Capabilities to Travel Into Deep Space
Who Owns the Vast Riches of Space?
Making Humanity a Space Faring Species
Core Interest of the NSS Since the 1970s
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