Virginia Spaceport leader to speak at UVa-Wise on 2013 moon mission

 

The University of Virginia's College at Wise students will learn the details of the first moon mission to boost to space from Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Thursday, Oct. 4 from the mission launch director.

Zigmond "Zig" Leszcynski, deputy director of the growing commercial spaceport, will provide students and the public with insight as to the growing launch capability and variety of missions set to get underway, including the NASA Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).

The public lecture by the former US Navy air commander will take place on campus at 3:30 p.m. in Room 104 of Smiddy Hall.

Prior to the UVa-Wise lecture, he will speak to students at Eastside High School in St. Paul to encourage students to develop space science experiments - one of the Wise County designed experiments will fly to the International Space Station from the Virginia spaceport.

 A US Naval Academy and Naval Post Graduate School graduate, Leszcynski serves as the spaceport Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority Project Manager for the moon mission set to launch from Virginia's Eastern Shore on the first Minotaur launch vehicle in Aug. 2013.

The LADEE mission's design is to study the moon's global density, composition, and time variability of the fragile lunar atmosphere before it is perturbed by further human exploration activities. The mission will also aid architects and engineers design the first lunar outpost for humans on the moon's surface following its launch from Wallops Island, Va.

Visiting UVa-Wise space commerce instructor Jack Kennedy invited the deputy director of the spaceport to boost STEM education within the academic community. Kennedy serves on the board of directors of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

"The fact that Virginia has a viable spaceport capable of now launching cargo missions to the International Space Station and to the moon is not commonly known," Kennedy said, noting that Russell County and Wise County students will be sending experiments to the orbiting national laboratory next month and in April 2013.

For more information, contact Jennifer Maggard at 276-328-6111.