Feel free to be highly critical, if we want to get this idea off the ground, this idea needs to be highly polished.

NASA Torch Bearer Ceremony – A
celebration of the final launch of the Space Shuttle

Need:

After 134 fights of the Space Shuttle,
the shuttle program is coming to an end. While every program must
end, there is a general consensus in the space community that the
general public does not understand the vast and international impact
of the Space Transportation System. This ceremony is designed to show
the public the reach of NASA, in terms of economic impact and the
number of people driven to reach higher after they were inspired by
a shuttle mission.

General opinion of the space program
is very low. In the HarrisInteractive Poll
Closing the Budget Deficit: U.S. Adults Strongly Resist Raising Any
Taxes
Except “Sin Taxes” Or Cutting Major Programs
this
opinion is highlighted. The poll found that it’s sample of 2,223
adults, when “[g]iven a list of twelve federal government programs
and asked to pick two which should be
cut… space programs top[ped] the list by a wide margin (51%)
”. It is
strange that the public would want to cut a program that has such a
vast impact. Assuming that the problem behind this lack of support is
lack of insight into the impact of the space program, this ceremony
will increase public opinion of the space program by increasing
awareness of the impact. The University of Chicago’s News Office
article
Americans Want to Spend More on Education, Health
further confirms this lack of support by placing the space program
21
st
on a list of 22 federal program that people want to cut.

This
last shuttle launch is the perfect time to demonstrate the impact of
space activity since the nation is deciding whether or not space is
worth pursuing at this moment. If the full impact of space is brought
to light, then space will remain a national priority in one form or
another.

Objectives:

  1. To have at least 25% of the people
    who has been employed by or inspired by the space program
    participate in running the torch or organizing this event. In
    addition, we will also have space fans speculating/cheering
    at this event so that news cameras will see the huge numbers
    of people who have been effected by the space program

  2. To double viewership of a shuttle
    launch (including TV and Internet)

  3. To reach 500,000 Americans with a
    pro-space message

  4. To raise $1,000,000 for STEM
    education

  5. To increase discussion of the
    space program in local media (at least 50% of towns we run in are expected to talk about this)

Methods:

In general, the event will be managed
by national organizers to deal with the political and legal issues
with moving across boarders. Then, regional managers will handle
every 1,000 miles and 10 sub-managers to manage the runners in their
100 mile sections.

To complete object one, people who
have been effect by the space program will register on the event’s
website. When they register, people will receive a t-shirt to wear
when the torch travels through their town and a pin to wear as long
as the torch is burning. The costs will be handled by sponsors.
Through the size of this event, we hope objective 2,3 and 5 will be
accomplished. Objective 4 will be completed by consistently
encouraging people to donate to STEM education organisations through
the event.

Overview of ceremony:

At exactly
06:07 UTC on
July 20th, a
stream of RP-1 will be ignited at the same place where Yuri Gagarin
took off. This first flame will represent all human spaceflight. The fire will burn
until 20:17 UTC when a laser, aimed at the retroreflectors on the
moon, reaches Earth. This will allow a fuse to drop into the RP-1
fire, which will ignite the torch.

Torchbearers
will carry the torch for a mile each. After carrying the
torch through the countries below, the torch will arrive at Kennedy
Space Center at the time of the launch.

Countries Visited:

The tour will visit the follow
countries, in this order: (This is every country with a space program)

  1. Russia

  2. Japan

  3. South Korea

  4. North Korea

  5. China

  6. Thailand

  7. Vietnam

  8. Malaysia

  9. Singapore

  10. Indonesia

  11. Australia

  12. Sri Lanka

  13. Bangladesh

  14. India

  15. Pakistan

  16. Iran

  17. Kazakhstan

  18. Saudi Arabia

  19. Israel

  20. Egypt

  21. Turkey

  22. Azerbaijan

  23. Bulgaria

  24. Greece

  25. Romania

  26. Ukraine

  27. Hungary

  28. Sweden

  29. Norway

  30. Denmark

  31. Poland

  32. Czech Republic

  33. Netherlands

  34. Germany

  35. Austria

  36. Italy

  37. Switzerland

  38. France

  39. Belgium

  40. UK

  41. Spain

  42. Portugal

  43. Morocco

  44. Algeria

  45. Nigeria

  46. Uruguay

  47. Argentina

  48. Peru

  49. Ecuador

  50. Brazil

  51. Venezuela

  52. Columbia

  53. Mexico

  54. United States (Continental)

  55. Canada

  56. United States (Alaska)

  57. Canada

  58. Unites States (Continental)

Evaluation:

Funding
agencies will know this event is successful if:

  1. This
    event is covered by the media

  2. $1,000,000 dollars is raised for STEM education

  3. A
    statistically significant increase in public opinion of space
    activity

Costs:

Costs
are yet to be determined, but each town require a motorcade or parade permit.
These permits tend to be under $200 each. There is also a chance that
security will be required, in which case, towns will expect
compensation for the costs of a police presence. Costs are expected
to rival those of the Olympic torch relay.

Obstacles:

  1. We
    may have trouble having an international event since we will have to
    convince other nations that this celebration is about more then the
    US space program.

  2. Timing
    – Having the torch delivered to the launch pad at the time of the
    final shuttle launch will be a challenge, we would only have a small
    margin of error.

  3. Since
    all members of this event will be volunteers, we will need a large number of people working on this project.