All around the world, scientists, space flight aficionados and stargazers have set aside each April 12 to commemorate the 1961 first manned space flight of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and the April 12, 1981, launch of NASA's space shuttle.

The local Yuri's Space Party at the Fine Arts Center had a larger purpose, the launch of the capital campaign to create an amazing interactive and experiential science and technology center east of America the Beautiful Park projected to have 300,000 to 500,000 visitors annually. It's here that by 2017 the world of science could open up for all ages.

Networking about the local science and STEM education scene were board members Peg Bacon, Judy Cara, Janet Carlson, Ron Furstenau, Dr. Rick Meinig, and DeeAnn and Steve Rothstein, (Rothstein is Colorado Springs Science Center Project president), astronaut Jim Reilly, BSCS science curriculum employees, Cool Science Festival organizers, Charlie Bennett and Bob Sallee of the National Space Science and Technology Institute (NSSTI) and many others. NSSTI was instrumental in plans for an infrared Pikes Peak Observatory at the summit of Pikes Peak, a plan stopped because the road hadn't yet been paved and the observatory was expected to draw large numbers of visitors.

Science project site: