Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Space Orbital

JTF-SD member creates “Butterfly Satellite” to support school district

By Jennifer Thibault, Joint Task Force-Space Defense Public Affairs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Those new to Colorado Springs, and maybe some not so new, may have seen the kaleidoscope of butterflies at various points around the city. One Joint Task Force-Space Defense member’s curiosity about the artistic butterflies led him to create one himself.

The butterflies are part of the Rotary of Colorado Springs annual FLIGHT service initiative that raises funds for District 11 art and science programs.

“I saw them at places around town and on my drive to and from work and wondered what they were,” said Rudi DiAmco, JTF-SD exercise planner and scenario developer. “Through my research I didn’t see where anyone had done anything space related, and I started to envision the butterfly satellite.”

The FLIGHT program is in its 14th year and with the prominent space-population in Colorado Springs, DiAmco thought it was about time for that to change.

“I really started pursuing the idea more after I started working here,” said DiAmco. “What we do on a day-to-day basis for national security and our way of life — we can’t always talk about it but we could have this piece to help people think about it.”

DiAmco had dabbled in the arts in his youth drawing his favorite television program leads but after his mom passed when he was 10, art took a back seat to athletics. Recent activities at local corporate instructional art events revived DiAmco’s artistic nature leading him to feature two painted works in an art show earlier this year.

“Through the years, I have designed patches, emblems and coins of the various units I have been assigned throughout my career, but I haven’t really done anything formal until this year,” he said.

DiAmco retired from the Air Force as a space operator after more than 22 years of service, including seven years as an enlisted member in both the Air Force and Army prior to his commission. He has worked as a contractor with the JTF-SD for nearly one year.

His artwork, “Butterfly Satellite,” was unveiled with about 70 others Sept. 3 at the Pioneer Museum which opened the online bidding that will close during an in-person auction Sept. 25. All are available to view at:

“I hope it raises as much money as possible for the district,” he said. “I also want to be able to explain the meaning behind the project.”

The project took DiAmco two and a half months to complete.

“My wife was a butterfly widow during that period but now she’s very proud of the accomplishment,” DiAmco said.

In addition to the time there was some frustration along the way.

“I had to start over three times because I was learning as I went. I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “It was one of the most stressful things I’ve done as far as art goes, but it was a huge learning experience and I’m proud of the outcome.”

As with most who set out to do create, DiAmco does feel like he would do things differently if he had more time. That being said he has other works on the agenda including a painting for his home, a couple for his daughter’s house and a request to submit more to the Rotary next year.

The effort highlights the often missed connection between art and science that is obvious to DiAmco.

“When I look at a satellite, I appreciate the technical side, but I also see it as an art form,” he said.

Even organizers agreed.

“Rudi’s contribution to this year’s live auction is an amazing creation that brings both art and technology together, which is so important in our community where we are very much connected to both,” said Kathleen Saltmarsh-Voss, FLIGHT 2021 co-chair. “It’s also a phenomenal example to students in School District 11 that art and technology have a place here. We are very happy to have a butterfly this year that teaches much more than just the beauty of art but also the structure and design through engineering.”

JTF-SD member creates “Butterfly Satellite” to support school district
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