Press Release

The Race to Fund Space: Students for the Exploration and Development of Space to Receive Proceeds from Micah Johnson’s Aku NFT Auction on Notables

By SpaceRef Editor
August 5, 2021
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Fort Worth, Texas, August 4, 2021 – Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) are proud to announce their participation in the much-anticipated Aku NFT auction, which will include artwork from renowned digital artist Micah Johnson on new, premium NFT marketplace, Notables. SEDS, a registered 501©3 non-profit organization, will not be placing bids, but instead will receive the net proceeds of the auction. 

Micah Johnson’s NFT character Aku, a young Black boy who dreams of becoming an astronaut, made his debut in February 2021 in response to a question posed by his young nephew: “Mom, can astronauts be Black?” For this one-of-a-kind NFT, Aku will travel into space in the pursuit of the actual American flag that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong brought to the Moon in 1969 — a mission much larger than the flag itself, that is centered around equitable access to achieving one’s dream.

This launch will represent the first-ever transmission of NFT artwork to outer space, as the digital source file containing the Aku artwork was beamed into space, relayed by satellites to commercial servers aboard the International Space Station, authenticated, transmitted back down to Earth, and minted. Aku’s digital artwork traveled over 125,000 miles in space, including a complete orbit of Earth aboard the International Space Station, and the metadata containing details of the journey were built into the NFT’s smart contract.

One lucky bidder will also be gifted a Zero-G parabolic flight experience. The NFT is being facilitated by angel donor Andy Haas, who granted the rights to the flag featured in this NFT, and the Zero-G flight is courtesy of Zero Gravity Corporation. The transmission of the NFT artwork to the International Space Station was arranged and facilitated by SEDS co-founder Bob Richards through his company Artemis Music Entertainment Inc. of Cape Canaveral, Florida, in collaboration with Nanoracks LLC of Houston, Texas, during an initial test of the Artemis Space Network.

This donation couldn’t have come at a better time. With the growth in space interest and enthusiasm in recent years, SEDS has placed a strong emphasis this year on shifting the demographic balance in the aerospace industry, ultimately lowering the barriers to entry for space. Their campaign to fund Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) has garnered over $5,000 this year. 

“SEDS is excited by the financial opportunity given to us by Andy Haas and this auction with Micah Johnson and Notables. With over 2000 students between almost 100 chapters nationwide, SEDS members from all backgrounds will benefit with increased finances for competitions, projects, and outreach initiatives targeting under-represented communities,” said Ian Burrell, Chair of SEDS. The donations received from this auction will go towards continuing the HBCU and minority outreach efforts, as well as funding chapter projects nationwide.  
About SEDS 
Holding status as the largest student-run organization in the world, SEDS promotes space exploration and development through educational and hands-on engineering projects while fostering development of future leaders and contributors in the aerospace industry. 

The community of SEDS consists of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from a diverse range of educational, societal, and cultural backgrounds and across many nations. Our students manage and participate in national projects, attend industry conferences, publish scientific research, and develop their professional network through our community of alumni spanning the industry. Significant to note, these future leaders and contributors have plans to dynamically change fields outside of engineering, including space policy, business development, and biotechnical work. Notable SEDS alumni include Jeff Bezos, Founder of Blue Origin; William Pomerantz, VP of Special Projects at Virgin Orbit. SEDS was founded in the 1980’s by Peter Diamandis, Bob Richards, and Todd Hawley, who subsequently founded the International Space University.

To learn more about SEDS, make a donation, or find a chapter near you, please visit

About Notables
Notables is a highly-curated NFT platform and marketplace, committed to the world of premium content. Created with accessibility, ease and sustainability top of mind, its users will be able to transact both in cryptocurrency and USD on the only entirely carbon-neutral NFT ecosystem. 

To see the latest NFT collections, please visit

About ZERO Gravity Corporation
Zero Gravity Corporation is a privately held space entertainment and tourism company whose mission is to make the excitement and adventure of space accessible to the public. The experience offered by Zero-G is the only commercial opportunity on Earth for individuals to experience true “weightlessness” without going to space. Zero-G’s attention to detail, excellent service and quality of experience combined with its exciting history has set the foundation for exhilarating adventure-based tourism.

Zero-G has provided thousands of individuals the opportunity to experience weightlessness. They not only cater to private clients, but various organizations as well as research and educational flights.

For more information about Zero-G or to book an experience please visit

About Artemis Music Entertainment Inc.
Artemis Music Entertainment Inc. has origins in working with NASA to develop astronomically inspired music and entertainment supporting its Artemis Moon-Mars program. The company’s Artemis Space Network is advancing the connectivity of space, music and entertainment with a space-based commercial media platform that enables creators and curators to send and receive digital content to and from outer space. Combined with blockchain technology, the Artemis Space Network allows the creation and transmission of unique space-flown digital music, art and entertainment media from anywhere in the world. 

For more information about Artemis Music Entertainment please visit


SpaceRef staff editor.