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El Paso Space Festival launching into orbit

SalmaPaola Baca
Star Wars characters appear at the El Paso Space Festival for their fans.

A galactic atmosphere filled with kids dressed in space costumes, aliens and astronaut inflatables filled the room as the fifth annual El Paso Space Festival kicked off Sept. 22.  

It was a festive aura bringing people together, where families and kids explored the mysterious realms of space history in El Paso.   

Partnering up with Insights Science Discovery to celebrate the 95th anniversary of El Paso International Airport, Marketing and Air Service development manager, Cassandra Davisson, considers the occasion to bring more people to the space industry and inspire the young minds of tomorrow.   

“The goal for the airport is to bring these industries to El Paso to prevent the brain drain,” Davisson said. “We are working to bring high-paying skilled laborers so our future community members, the children here today, are inspired. They will have a place to work and stay in El Paso, so we are hopefully inspiring minds and keeping them here for the future.”    

Demonstrating the rich history of space exploration and beauties of the moon, UTEP professor Jose Hurtado was among the guest speakers and representatives from UTEP sharing hidden gems and space innovation in the Sun City.  

“El Paso is in a great place for space, we have a lot of history here.” Hurtado said. “We are right in the middle of different space exports, and a lot is going on at UTEP, so this touches the El Paso community in many ways, and hopefully I can do my small part and be an ambassador for that.”   

Nestled near White Sands Missile Range and neighbored by the commercial space industry that infuses the U.S. Southwest, El Paso has a significant history regarding space travel and the festival featured those cosmic achievements and industry.   

On the horizon, landmarks like Blue Origin in Vanhorn, Texas, and Virgin Galactic at Spaceport America, are shooting for the stars with their discoveries and the festival highlighted the work they have done. The festival explored artistic aspects of space exploration with booths having NASA representatives and space agencies present.   

Apart from highlighting space, the festival had hands-on activities where kids could draw and paint while learning about outer space. They had bouncy houses and an illuminated dance floor where kids danced the night away as adults were able to watch flights depart into the evening sky. Food trucks and Insight representative Rogelio Garcia were there teaching kids about space.   

“This event is a great opportunity for kids to learn about space and consider opportunities in careers related to space, so it is great for them to get exposed to this material,” Garcia said. “This (is) a great way to show the outreach that we have in the community and inform them about the space opportunities in El Paso.”    

Throwing paper plane rockets in the air, Rodrigo Valdes, a student from Harmony School of Science, considers the event an opportunity to connect with the community and share the knowledge of rockets with kids.   

“You learn new things from the kids as well teach them new things,” Valdes said. “Everyone here likes rockets, space, airplanes, so you get the chance to connect. It’s important for the next generation of students and little kids to be engaged in rockets, space and planes so they can take our spot when we get older.”  

Immersing the warehouse with the Star Wars theme song, parents guided their kids through the space activities while being greeted by cosplayers dressed in Star Wars costumes, adding more excitement to the event.   

Among the crowded room of parents with children, attendee Milla Molinar favored the event as an opportunity for her daughter and kids to learn about space travel and planes.   

“It looks fun for the little kids, I have a little kid who likes airplanes, so we thought this event would be perfect for her,” Molinar said. “I think kids should learn more about space and aviation, I know there is (stigmas) around planes being scary, and with kids getting more exposure to them, it will hopefully bring in a fun atmosphere.”    

An alluring experience for guests that features a diverse array of activities and exhibits will have its last event, Saturday, Sept. 30. It will display rocket launches and a stargazing party to end the night, and the local community is encouraged to attend. More information is available at    

Erik Acosta is the web and copy editor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Erik Acosta, Web/Copy Editor
Erik Acosta is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in theatre. Erik started working at The Prospector as staff reporter spring 2023, and now serves as the web and copy editor.
SalmaPaola Baca, Contributor/Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a junior at UTEP majoring in engineering leadership with a concentration in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography/videography enables her to be a contributor and photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography.
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