The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an international professional and educational nonprofit organization. Founded in 1985, its membership includes over 400 flown astronauts and cosmonauts from 37 nations.
The ASE has become increasingly relevant and necessary as cooperative international capabilities are leveraged to fly beyond low-Earth orbit. Marshalling resources and creating a path for further exploration depends on robust communication and international coordination among astronauts and cosmonauts.
In October 2019, the group hosted its fourth event in the United States, in our very own Space City: Houston. It was the largest gathering of delegates from around the world in ASE’s history, and the perfect opportunity for Staging Solutions to demonstrate some cosmic creativity.
It was a challenge to craft an environment that would inspire and impress an audience who has seen the Earth from space with their own eyes. The gravity of the situation was not lost on us!
As with any space launch, moon walk, or research mission, every detail was considered during our extensive 18-month planning phase for this project. Creative Director Alan Lett, Technical Director Mark Perkison, and others on the Staging Solutions creative team met with members of the US delegation and planning committee, many of whom have traveled in space.
Under their expert guidance, the team worked to produce an immersive, extraterrestrial environment that physically surrounded the space-savvy audience.
The final design was a 270-degree projection space on fully contiguous video screens measuring approximately 180 feet, and installed across three main gallery walls. The screens were positioned above a small wall fitted with LED uplighting, creating the illusion of a window port looking out over Earth’s orbit.
Guests entered a celestial panorama of nebulae, initially lit only by simulated starlight. The evening’s ambient environments lifted off with a tribute to the 1969 Apollo 11 mission and the first moon landing; progressed through subsequent star travel, orbital operations, and the work of the International Space Station; and concluded with a horizon-wide view of the lunar landscape featuring the 1969 lunar landing site. The finale featured conceptual arrangements of future international “moon villages” that evidence the cooperative spirit of the ASE.
The evening’s program featured video presentations and speaker content on the center projection wall, supporting the presenters who stood on a sweeping stage in the front of the room. This “mission control” platform was the focal point for presentations and awards, as well as a performance space for spoken-word, dance, and voice students from the Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
The evening was out of this world!
It was truly a pleasure to work with our longtime friends and partners The Sullivan Group on this project.