“Going to space is a rare, life-defining moment. Once you are in space, it is a feast for the senses,” said Jeffrey Ashby, retired captain, US Navy, former NASA astronaut and current chief of Mission Assurance for Blue Origin.
On June 27 at 7 p.m. in the Lake County High School auditorium, Ashby will share his experiences, observations and photos that he and fellow astronauts took from space, many looking back at our planet earth. His reflections from space will encourage and inspire attendees to reflect on how each of us is contributing to society.
When you see Ashby around Lake County, often with his backcountry skis in tow going to ski or hike Mt. Elbert and Mt. Hope, he seems like a regular Lake County adrenaline- driven earth-bound athlete. Unlike most, his attraction to high-altitude experiences is also reflected in his career in flight and space endeavors. He grew up in Evergreen and now resides in Lake County. While in the U.S. Navy, Ashby flew fighter aircraft, with over 8,000 flight hours, 1001 carrier landings and 65 combat missions. He has flown on three space-shuttle missions aboard Columbia, Endeavour and Atlantis. He has logged over 27 days in outer space.
Ashby was changed by his professional experiences, but how could he not be? It isn’t just because he flew Endeavor backwards and upside down “at 240 miles altitude traveling at 18,000 miles per hour.”
When he talks about the human space experience including observations on how humans adapt, one feels the passion in his desire to use “science to benefit our lives here on earth, preparing humanity to travel to places like the moon, asteroids and Mars one day.”
Today, as chief of mission assurance for Blue Origin, a business formed by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, Ashby works to privatize aspects of space travel.
“The way I see it, the new space race in the world is to privatize and open space up to thousands and millions of people,” Ashby said.
As part of his commitment to contribute to society, Ashby has waived all speaking fees for the event on the 27th. With the support of Lake County School District and the Friends of Twin Lakes, all the ticket sale proceeds will go to fund the new Fire Station in Lake County.
The cost is $20 per person; a ticket at the door that can be used as record of your donation, if needed, for tax purposes. Special prices are available for Lake County School District students/employees and their families, as well as LLCFR employees/resident reserves ($20 for a total of four people if accompanied by a student or LLCFR member) and CMC students/wmployees ($10 per person). If price is an issue, please email email@example.com so that you will be able to share in this experience.