Uwingu LLC, a space-themed start up is seeking crowd-sourced funding to launch an ongoing series of public engagement projects. Uwingu’s mission is to use those proceeds to generate funding for space exploration, research, and education efforts around the world.

Uwingu LLC (pronounced “oo-wing-oo” and which means “sky” in Swahili) consists of astronomers, planetary scientists, former space program executives, and educators. Included in the company’s portfolio of space heavyweights are space historian and author Andy Chaikin, space educator Dr. Emily CoBabe-Ammann, citizen science leader Dr. Pamela Gay, author and museum science director Dr. David Grinspoon, planet hunter Dr. Geoff Marcy, planetary scientist and aerospace executive Dr. Teresa Segura, planetary scientist and former NASA science boss Dr. Alan Stern, and planetary scientist and CEO of the Planetary Science Institute, Dr. Mark Sykes.

“Uwingu will employ novel software applications to game-ify space, with the profits going toward research and education,” says Gay. “Our projects will be fun to use, and the proceeds from their use will make a real difference in how space exploration, research, and education is funded.”

Adds CoBabe-Aummann, “Uwingu’s influence on space education is going to be both broad and deep, with applications we think will be very popular in classrooms around the world, and proceeds going to promote space education both at home and abroad.”

“Our ambitions at Uwingu are high,” states founder Sykes. “Simply put, we want to use commercial sales to generate a new funding stream for space research, space education, and even space exploration. Nothing like this has ever been done.”

Uwingu’s launch project is already built, but its being kept under wraps to generate excitement and suspense. The company is seeking the public’s support to raise funds for Internet and other business costs it will incur in early operations. “We’ve already put the equivalent of over $1M in software development into our first project through donated hours by our team,” says co-founder Stern, “and we’ve each contributed funds as well, but to build up the nest egg of capital we need to launch our web site, we are asking people who believe in our mission to help.”

Uwingu’s crowd funding campaign to raise these funds can be found at: www.indiegogo.com/projects/180221.

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