Space Shuttle

El Paso astronaut Danny Olivas, a mission specialist with Space Shuttle Discovery, waves on his way to board the shuttle prior to launch at Kennedy Space Center on Aug. 24, 2009.

Ready to launch stomp rockets, make your own moon crater and meet El Paso astronaut Danny Olivas?

Then head out to the first El Paso Space Festival, an event by Insights El Paso in partnership with the El Paso Elks Lodge #187 and Boy Scout Troop 187, on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Families attending the festival can explore Earth and space phenomena, learn about NASA research by launching stomp rockets, exploring how water moves in a watershed, making moon craters and more.

Olivas, a graduate of Burges High School and the University of Texas at El Paso, will host the grand opening of the festival and answer audience questions from 10 to 11 a.m. The event is at El Paso Elks Lodge 187 on the Eastside, with other evening activities at Ascarate Lake.

Olivas was instrumental in the June 2007 mission on Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station, where he repaired a thermal blanket tear on the shuttle while in orbit. He also completed two spacewalks during that mission. In August 2009, Olivas was part of the Space Shuttle Discovery mission to the International Space Station, where he completed three space walks.

The festival will feature booths from various space organizations, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Spaceport America, UTEP and more. Families who complete their Space Passport by visiting multiple booths will have a chance to win one of 35 signed hardcover copies of Olivas’ book, “Endeavour’s Long Journey” and other prizes.

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