Buy Your Tickets Now for the Pioneers Fall Banquet!

It is that time of year again! Buy your tickets now for the Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers Fall Banquet!

October 25th, 2019

Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach

5:30 PM Social Hour | 7:00 PM Dinner

Join us at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as we we honor modern day women pioneers.

Our event will feature a panel with Carol Craig, Founder and CEO of Craig Technologies, Kelly DeFazio, Program Director for Production of the Orion Spacecraft at Lockheed Martin, and Gretchen Sauerman, Vice President for Research/Corporate and Government Relations at the Florida Institute of Technology. Our panel moderator is Emilee Speck, Space Journalist for the Orlando CBS station, News 6 WKMG, and its website,

The Weiss School will also be updating the Pioneers on their Wolverine CubeSat Development Team and other projects.

Corporate tables are available on request. Please contact

This event is open to the public. There will be a sit down dinner and a cash bar. Social hour begins at 5:30 and dinner will be served at 7:00.

Tickets are limited so purchase yours today!

Student and

Active Military Tickets


Student/Active Military









Meet our Speakers!

Carol Craig

A self-described accidental entrepreneur and Unconventional CEO®, Carol Craig is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Craig Technologies, headquartered in Cape Canaveral, FL. Growing Craig Technologies from one person in 1999 to nearly 400 associates with steadily increasing revenues, Craig Technologies and its subsidiaries Craig Technologies Aerospace Solutions (CTAS) and GCC, LLC lead nationwide operations with employees in over 20 different states.

As CEO, Carol oversees corporate operations to ensure quality service-delivery for her commercial and government customers, offering commercial space operations onboard the International Space Station, design engineering, precision machining and fabrication, avionics development, systems engineering and integration, software design and development, information technology support, training and courseware development, integrated logistics and range operations support.

In January of 2018, following the successful conclusion of a non-reimbursable five-year Space Act Agreement (SAA) with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Craig Technologies finalized the relocation of its Headquarters, Engineering, and Manufacturing divisions. The new facilities include a 30,000-square foot campus that houses corporate, engineering and avionics staff. The engineering division provides quality in-house Design Engineering services from up-front analysis to integration, assembly and test in support of customers such as the Department of Defense, NASA, Boeing, General Dynamics Electric Boat, and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Craig Technologies’ avionics division, which is a part of CTAS, spans an 12,000-square foot area and produces a wide range of space system flight and ground cables and electronic chassis for such customers as Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and NASA.

Craig Technologies’ manufacturing division, is housed in a 20,000-square foot precision manufacturing facility also located in Cape Canaveral.  The manufacturing operation provides engineers, technicians and state of the art equipment to support precision machining, fabrication and assembly for prototypes, test articles, one-offs, and low-rate initial production up through high volume swiss screw machining production for companies such as Boeing, United Launch Alliance, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Harris, Pacific Scientific, NASA and other government agencies.

As a P-3C Orion Naval Flight Officer, Carol was the first female aviator to join her P-3C Orion squadron. She holds a BA in Computer Science from Knox College, a BS in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ms. Craig is pursuing a PhD in Systems Engineering at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL.

In 2017, Carol was the recipient of the 2017 “Making a Difference” award by The American Business Women’s Association Oceanside Charter Chapter. In 2016, Carol received a Special Congressional Recognition award from Congressman Bill Posey during Hispanic Heritage month for her outstanding and invaluable service to the local community. In 2015, Carol was selected as the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Florida and South Florida District, and was recognized as the national first runner-up finalist in Washington, DC. The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) recognized Carol with the Kathleen P. Sridhar Small Business Executive of the Year Award in 2013, and she received the prestigious 2013 HENAAC Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Great Minds in STEM. In 2008, the Society of Women Engineers recognized Carol as Entrepreneur of the Year.

Carol has also been featured in several publications, including The University of Illinois Alumni Magazine, Florida Trend, Washington Technology,, Orlando Business Journal, and Florida Today.

Kelly DeFazio

Kelly DeFazio is the Program Director for Production of the Lockheed Martin Spacecraft Orion in support of NASA’s Space Exploration Plan to the Moon and Beyond. Her responsibilities include leading the Supply Chain (External and Internal); Assembly Test & Launch Ops (ATLO); and Production Engineering Organizations.

2015-2018: Kelly served as the Director of F35 Production Engineering for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Her responsibilities include manufacturing engineering, test engineering, manufacturing planning, and root cause and corrective action across all F35 production sites. She also managed the producibility and affordability projects for F35 cost reduction.

2011-2014: Kelly was appointed as the Courtland Site Director for LM Space Company (LMSC) in Alabama. Her responsibilities included Procurement thru Assembly Integration & Test (AI&T) and delivery of Missile Systems. In addition, she managed and maintained the 660+ Acre ordnance rated facility with over 125K Sq Ft of production floor space.

2005-2010: Kelly held a series of increasingly responsible technical and managerial positions including Program Manager for the LV-2 product line and for the Re-Entry Vehicles within the Targets and Countermeasures Programs (LMSC) in Huntsville, AL. As program manager, she led a multifunctional domestic and international team including: systems engineers, design teams, subcontract management, and finance & business operations.

2001-2005: Kelly served as a Titan IV Launch Conductor at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In 1988, she joined Lockheed Martin and held a succession of increasingly responsible positions ranging from electrical systems engineer to Titan IV Program Engineer. During her career she participated in 42 launch campaigns.

Kelly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Electrical) and her Master’s degree in Business Administration (Management) from the University of Central Florida.

Gretchen Sauerman

Gretchen Sauerman currently serves as Vice President for Research/Corporate and Government Relations at the Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech). During her time at Florida Tech, Gretchen has served in leadership roles related to university-industry engagement, including the founding of CAMID, the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design, and UCAS, the University-Corporation Alliance for Success.

Gretchen graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering. After graduation, she started her career at General Dynamics, Space Systems Division in San Diego working on Atlas and Titan Centaur programs, before returning to Florida to work in other sectors including environmental engineering and energy engineering.

In her current role at Florida Tech, she is a core team member of the university’s WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative, led by the university’s “first lady,” Dr. Mary Helen McCay. The WiSTEM initiative provides training and leadership opportunities to female students, faculty and staff, to respond to growing pressures from industry partners for workforce diversity.

Fall Banquet and Other Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars! The next Pioneers banquet will be October 25th at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach. 

Details and ticket sales coming soon!

We will hold elections at the fall banquet. If you or a friend is interested in getting involved, please send nominations to Gretchen Sauerman at

CCTS Presents Space Coast Robotics Showdown on Sept 28th at Viera High School.  

You are cordially invited to volunteer or attend for FREE Space Coast Robotics Showdown on Saturday Sept 28th from 7am to 6pm at Viera High School.
Please bring your family, friends,especially kids to watch FL and GA Robots compete. 


Message from the President

Today marks 50 years since we accomplished our greatest and most ambitious feat, taking the first steps on another world to extend the human reach beyond our own planet. Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap’ was a breakthrough technological and scientific achievement one only imagined in science fiction. 

Apollo 11 represented the best of what we can achieve with hard work, determination, and sacrifice. And I want to thank the members of the Missile, Space, and Range, Pioneers who were part of that auspicious mission and put hammer to nail or pen to paper in the effort to bring humans to the moon.

Many of our members worked hours and hours, dedicating their time and lives to answer President Kennedy’s calling with the belief that anything was possible, including the extraordinary task before them.

On July 20th, 1969, millions of people around the world turned on their radios and television sets to a part of humanity’s greatest adventure. They stood in silence with their loved ones, friends, and coworkers as the words “Eagle Has Landed” was uttered by mission control. No matter where on Earth they were or what language they spoke, all eyes were wide and for a moment, all of humanity shared a common purpose and common destiny.

Neil Armstrong would descend onto the dusty lunar surface, while the world waited in anticipation. His words “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” would echo throughout the generations and become in itself, a new call to action. And for the Pioneers who have joined in the years since Apollo, this is for you. The legacy that Apollo has built stands strong still today, and today’s generation will build a new legacy that will inspire the world yet again.

So I ask that we all join in celebration today. From Pioneer members who worked to support the launch of Apollo 11 to those who helped to construct the fleet of space shuttles and to those who support the commercial industry today, we applaud you. And I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this vibrant, hard-working community. 

Celebrate all that you have accomplished. Whether it’s going to one of the Apollo 11 events around the county, drinking some tang with your family, or just looking up at the moon tonight for a moment of reflection, I encourage each and every one of you to celebrate what has been achieved. You were responsible for making it possible.

Don’t let the excitement fade. A new class of Pioneers looks to those who have accomplished so much. Inspire them to push the frontier as you have and help make the Artemis generation possible and let’s be the first to put a woman on the moon.

I am incredibly humbled and grateful to be leading this organization during such a historic time for our members. I appreciate what each of our members have done throughout their lives, that allowed humanity’s spirit of exploration to ascend beyond the bounds of Earth. Thank you.

Chelsea Partridge 


Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers

Partying Like It’s 1969- Pioneers Celebrate Apollo!

What a banquet! Our event “Reflections on Apollo: 50 Years since ‘One Small Step'” was a great success! Jim Banke moderated a fantastic discussion with Apollo Legends Lee Solid, Bob Sieck, and John Tribe. We heard where each panelist watched Apollo 11, the lessons they learned from Apollo and incorporated into the shuttle program, and their thoughts on modern space exploration culture versus the culture around Apollo 11.

We also had special guests George English, founding member of the Pioneers and long-term KSC Executive, and Al Crews, test pilot and original US Air Force astronaut. Also present was Silver Snoopy recipient Janis Seraphine- who also worked under Wernher von Braun!

We’d like to give a huge thank you to the evening’s corporate sponsor- Lockheed Martin, and to John Gould of Living Space for advertising and writing about the event! You can check out his site here:

More pictures will be posted soon but in the meantime, you can check out the entire collection on our Facebook page:

Thanks everyone who joined us! We look forward to seeing everyone in October for our next event!

Tickets on Sale for Spring 2019 Event!

It is that time of year again! Buy your tickets now for the Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers Spring Banquet!    

May 10th, 2019

Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach

5:30 PM Social Hour | 7:00 PM Dinner

We will be honoring the 50th anniversary of Apollo with a program called: Reflections on Apollo: 50 Years since “One Small Step”.  Our event will feature Lee Solid, Senior Executive of Rockwell’s Florida Operations , John Tribe, Chief Engineer of Launch Support at Kennedy Space Center, and Bob Sieck, Apollo Test Engineer and Space Shuttle Launch Director.

Corporate tables are available on request. Please contact

Tickets are limited so purchase yours today!

The menu is your choice of:

  • Grilled mahi-mahi with mango black bean salad
  • Mojito chicken with mandarin oranges,
  • Vegetarian stuffed portobello mushrooms,
  • All served with salad, potatoes, vegetables, and dessert


Upcoming Events!

Lecture with Tory Bruno!

Mark your calendars for our upcoming events!

Join us as we co-host with Florida Institute of Technology for a lecture by ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno! Tickets are free and must be reserved in advance. Find out more HERE.

46th Space Congress

We are looking for volunteers for the 46th Space Congress! We are looking for volunteers for February 26-28. Email us to sign up to volunteer! Find out more HERE.


We are looking for volunteers for NARCON on March 2! Email us to sign up to volunteer! Find out more HERE.

Pioneers Spring Banquet

Mark your calendars! The next Pioneers banquet will be April 26th at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach. More details to follow! 

President’s Message: What a Year!

What a wonderful year 2018 has been for the Pioneers. We thank all of you for your support this year.

We had a fantastic banquet in the Spring honoring our roots and Armed Forces Day with Brigadier General Wayne Monteith. We heard about the Drive to 48 launches a year and we heard about Merritt Island High’s “Stangsat” CubeSat.

It was hard to follow such a great event with another, but we managed to do so with our Fall banquet. We celebrated the many accomplishments of United Launch Alliance with a speech by Ron Fortson. We heard from the incredibly talented Weiss School students once again, updating us on the status of their CubeSat (which has since launched!) and their education and policy initiatives.

We had a great year with you all and look forward to doing more and greater things in 2019. I leave you all now with a quote from the crew of Apollo 8, 50 years after their historic mission.

“From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

-Chelsea Partridge, President


President’s Message: Fall 2018 Banquet

Thank you everyone for showing up to our Fall Banquet! We had a fantastic turnout!

We want to particularly thank our speakers, Ron Fortson of ULA, and the students of The Weiss School. We also would like to specially thank our corporate sponsors, Boeing and Space Florida.

John Gould, a writer who attended the banquet, wrote a great article about the event. I hope you read and enjoy!

Thank you again to everyone for your support. We look forward to seeing you in the Spring for more events and banquets.

-Chelsea Partridge, President


Photo Gallery: Fall 2018 Banquet