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The 2013 History Conference is hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and the U.S. Naval Academy with support from The William M. Wood Foundation.
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Driving Directions to the U.S. Naval Academy
The conference IS NOT AFFECTED by the government shut down.
Shuttle service will be offered between Alumni Hall on the Naval Academy yard and the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Personal vehicles WILL NOT be permitted on the U.S. Naval Academy campus.
Directions to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium:
FROM POINTS NORTH:
From I-95-South exit onto I-695-East and then take the I-97-South exit. Follow I-97 south until it merges into Route 50 East toward Annapolis. Take Exit 24, Rowe Blvd, and bear right (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp. Follow directions "From Route 50" below.
FROM POINTS SOUTH:
Take I-95-North, MD Route 2 North or U.S. Route 301 North to Route 50. Travel east to Annapolis. Take Exit 24, Rowe Blvd, and bear right (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp and then follow directions "From Route 50" below.
FROM POINTS WEST:
Follow Route 50 East from Washington, D.C. towards Annapolis. Take Exit 24, Rowe Blvd, and bear right (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp. Then follow directions "From Route 50" below.
FROM POINTS EAST:
Follow Route 50 West toward Annapolis to Exit 24B, Rowe Blvd and follow the directions "From Route 50" below.
FROM ROUTE 50:
From route 50, follow Rowe Blvd to a right turn at the second stop light onto Taylor Ave and follow the signs to a right turn into the Blue Parking Lot.
Please tell the attendant that you will be attending the "2013 Naval History Conference" and your parking will be free of charge.
All visitors over the age of 16 must have a valid government issued picture ID.
80 Compromise Street
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58 State Circle
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2 Truxton Rd.
Annapolis , MD
174 West St.
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Lt Gen Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.)
The U.S. Naval Institute’s 2013 annual history conference, “Past, Present, and Future of Human Space Flight” at Alumni Hall on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy opened with the morning keynote presented by astronaut and retired Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford.
Stafford, a veteran of the Gemini and Apollo programs and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, opened his remarks by expressing his pleasure at returning to his alma mater. “I’ll be talking fast today because there’s a lot of history to cover,” he said. Stafford explained that the launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 had a galvanizing political effect in the United States that led to a push across the country to boost science, technical, and math (STEM) education, and inspired Senator Lyndon Johnson to push for a manned space program. Stafford summarized the subsequent creation of the Mercury program, explaining that the Mercury spacecraft suffered from limitations largely imposed by the limited size of the available launch vehicles. For example, while astronauts were able to change the Mercury spacecraft’s attitude, they were not able to affect its vector -- a factor that would play a significant role in the design of the subsequent two-person Gemini spacecraft.
When Yuri Gagarin made mankind’s first manned space flight on April 12, 1961, it spurred the United States to respond by launching Alan Shepard on a suborbital flight President Kennedy to make his famous speech before Congress a month later in which he called for a man to be landed on the moon and safely returned to Earth. “I’m glad he used the words, ‘safely returned,’” Stafford quipped. A little-known fact about the speech was that Kennedy had already informed, and secured the support of, key Congressional leaders prior to the speech. “So while the speech came as a surprise to many of those in Congress, to the power brokers, the deal was already done,” said Stafford. “This is a lesson in political history.”
The United States needed to accomplish three technical goals in order to successfully reach the moon, explained Stafford. First was the development of a high-thrust engine, which eventually became the F1 that powered the Saturn V booster. “Those of you who study thermodynamics know that the bigger the engine, the more susceptible it is to instability and explosions,” Stafford observed. Led by Air Force General Bernard A. Schriever, the effort to develop the successful F1 required 12 years of continual testing and development before the engine was reliable enough to fly in 1967. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, never developed a successful large engine, which many observers believe hampered its moon program.
The second goal was to develop a highly capable organization that could oversee the nation’s space program, with suitable facilities for assembling, servicing, launching, and recovering spacecraft. The creation of NASA in July 1958, from elements of the Army’s Ballistic Missile Agency and the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics accomplished that goal. Stafford recalled that the launch facilities at Cape Canaveral were very primitive, and posed significant safety and health risks that were overlooked because of the sense of urgency. “Today, it would take you six years to get through just the environmental impact study,” Stafford joked.
The third requirement for a successful moon mission, said Stafford, was the development of a suitable mission profile, a decision which offers a valuable lesson for students and engineers today. While many of the engineers, including the influential Wernher von Braun, favored an earth-orbit rendezvous (EOR) between the command and lunar modules, a small group of engineers led by John C. Houbolt championed an alternative approach, lunar-orbit rendezvous, that ultimately won out after much debate. “This is an important point for you midshipmen in the audience to remember,” said Stafford. “When you have a good idea, and you know it’s good, you need to push for it.”
“Without those three items, we would not have made it to the moon,” Stafford concluded.
Stafford then recounted the highlights of the Gemini program that followed Mercury. A member of the second group of American astronauts, Stafford served as the pilot of Gemini 6 and the commander of Gemini 9. He explained that because the capabilities of the Mercury spacecraft were very limited and Apollo was designed specifically to go to the moon, “we needed a bridge, something that would teach us how to rendezvous in space, how to walk in space, and how to conduct long-duration missions.” He recalls that the specifications for the Gemini spacecraft was just a single page -- something that’s almost unheard of today. “That’s a major problem today,” observed Stafford. “We have too many people writing too many documents with too many requirements, and that’s why it takes us so long to do so much.”
“I cannot emphasize how much the Soviet program pushed our program, but also how much our program pushed theirs,” recalled Stafford. For example, the announcement that astronaut Ed White would make a spacewalk as part of the Gemini 4 mission in June 1965, the Soviet space program modified its Voskhod spacecraft to allow cosmonaut Alexei Leonov to conduct the first spacewalk just a few weeks before White’s mission launched. Years later, when Stafford and Leonov became friends, Stafford learned first-hand how Leonov had nearly been killed on the spacewalk because of suit overpressurization -- a situation that hampered White on his spacewalk, and later jeopardized Eugene Cernan’s spacewalk on Stafford’s Gemini 9 mission.
Stafford recalled the prank he pulled on West Point graduate Frank Borman during the rendevous of Stafford’s Gemini 6A mission with Gemini 7. Stafford radioed over to James Lovell, the pilot of Borman’s spacecraft, and said, “Jim, you have been up in space longer than anyone, and the doctors are worried about your vestibular condition. So as a test of your eyesight, I want you to look at this sign I’m placing in my window.” The sign read: BEAT ARMY.
The Gemini missions were not without their hazards, though many of them proved to be valuable lessons for later space missions. For example, during the initial launch attempt of Gemini 6A, the engines ceased firing just three seconds after ignition, followed by reports of a fire on the pad. “I was officially quoted as saying, ‘Aw, shucks,’” Stafford added. The other major incident occurred on the subsequent Gemini 8 mission, when a malfunctioning thruster on the spacecraft forced the crew to abandon their mission after only eight orbits. On Stafford’s own Gemini 9 mission, astronaut Gene Cernan encountered a similar spacesuit pressurization problem that resulted in a fogged visor, requiring Stafford to verbally guide Cernan back aboard.
Years later, Stafford recalled, his astronaut classmate John Young recalled those years by saying, “My, weren’t we brave -- and my, weren’t we dumb.”
On the Apollo program, Stafford led the NASA team that helped plan the sequence of the missions that led to Apollo 11, and was credited with the development of the translunar injection maneuver that was later used to reach the moon. As commander of the Apollo 10 mission in May 1969, which was a dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 mission, Stafford’s crew performed the first lunar-orbit flight of the lunar module and performed the first lunar rendezvous. They also broadcast the first color TV images from space. On its return journey, Apollo 10 achieved a Guinness World Record for the highest speed ever attained by humans -- 24,791 statute miles per hour, a record that still stands.
Following the end of the Apollo program, Stafford became the head of the Astronaut Office and helped plan and eventually command the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). The program was jointly devised by NASA administrator James Fletcher and Mstislav Keldysh, the president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. As the first international space mission at the height of the Cold War, ASTP presented some serious challenges to NASA in terms of collaboration -- a situation that Stafford noted has significantly improved thanks to the shuttle and ISS programs.
In response to a question from an audience member, Stafford recalled a joke played on them by the Russian cosmonauts during training. “We tested the Soviet food, and they tested ours,” said Stafford. “They presented us with tubes labeled ‘Vodka,’ but when we tasted them, it was just borscht.”
At the conclusion of his keynote talk, Stafford received a warm standing ovation from the attendees in recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to space exploration.
Morning Panel: Mercury to Shuttle: Guts and Ingenuity
The focus of the conference’s first panel session was a review of how the US space program developed from the first tentative steps of the Mercury days to where we are now. The panel was moderated by Mr. David Hartman, former host of Good Morning America and an award-winning producer, writer, and host of television documentaries, many of which have focused on aerospace topics. An accomplished photojournalist as well, Hartman also served as an active duty officer in the USAF Strategic Air Command. Hartman opened his remarks by noting that “the period between Kennedy’s 1961 speech and Apollo 11’s successful landing on the moon was perhaps the last time in the country’s history when everyone pulled together to accomplish something remarkable.”
Hartman opened the discussion with Gemini and Apollo astronaut Capt. James A. Lovell, USN (Ret.). He asked Lovell to describe the early selecting and testing procedures for astronauts. “Eisenhower wanted people with security clearance,” recalled Lovell. “Our initial approach to space was as a research and development program, and test pilots are familiar with that kind of mission.” The original astronauts had to have an engineering degree, had to have several thousand hours’ jet flying experience, and couldn't be over 35 or over six feet tall. At the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the astronaut candidates were subjected to a wide battery of tests that had little do to with determining their fitness, but rather tested their stamina and responses to unusual stimuli. “They took liquids from every orifice we had,” said Lovell. Although he wasn’t picked for the first astronaut group, he was selected as part of the second group along with Thomas Stafford.
Asked how optimistic he was about the success of Gemini, Lovell explained that the overriding question was whether humans could live for two weeks in zero gravity. “Some of the doctors did not think that we could,” said Lovell. “They said, ‘didn’t we evolve under gravity? Don’t we need it to survive?’ Well, of course, it turns out that we didn’t. Two weeks in space was a long time, but I’ll tell you, two weeks anywhere with Frank Borman is a long time,” quipped Lovell.
Lovell said that later Gemini missions benefitted from Ed White’s experience, but added that there were still some surprises waiting for the later astronauts. “What we all forgot about was Newton’s Third Law of Motion. When you touched the spacecraft, it would repel you. You had to learn how to use zero-gee to your advantage rather than to your disadvantage.” It was only later that NASA engineers devised the idea of practicing spacewalks in a neutral-buoyany pool.
Asked whether the decision to send Apollo 8 to the moon was a political decision, Lovell responded, “Most of the changes to the mission were political. Two things happened in the summer of 1968 that really changed our mission. The first was that Grumman Aircraft, which was building the lunar module, said that there was no way they would be able to get it ready by our mission. The second thing was that we had intelligence that the Russians were going to put a man around the moon in the late fall of 1968.” The Soviets did in fact launch several Zond missions on circumlunar missions carrying animals, but never launched a Zond mission with a human occupant.
Lovell recalled that seeing the earth rise over the moon was the highlight of the Apollo 8 mission. “It really gave you an impression of how small we all really are,” he said. “You see continents and clouds and water, but that’s it. From that distance it appears that the earth is completely uninhabited, but you know that down there there are 5 or 6 billion astronauts striving to survive on the spacecraft called Earth. And I think that’s the sense we wanted to bring back to people.”
Asked whether he agreed with those who at the time called Apollo 13 a failure, Lovell said, “When I got back, I thought it was a failure too. You have to remember that NASA lives on success, so after the initial euphoria of returning, there was no large amount of telegrams that came in, no medals or things like that at all, so it looked and felt like a failure. But then after a while, we started to think about. it. Yes, it was a failure in that it didn’t accomplish what it set out to do, but it was a success in terms of what all the people, the ground crew had to work with and overcome to bring us home.”
Lovell concluded his remarks by offering his thoughts on the future of manned space flight. “I haven’t been close to the recent progress in commercial flights, but it appears to me that whatever you do in space, the idea of the US having a lead is important,” said Lovell. “Ever since 1957, young people have had a real affinity for what they see the space program development. When I gave my Forrestal lecture at the Naval Academy in 1973 and people said, ‘Gee, I want to do that,” back then they could. But we don’t have that now. We’re like a ship without a rudder.” Lovell singled out the Curiosity lander program as an example of what can be accomplished. “That was a marvelous technological and engineering feat. If we could put that same effort into manned spaceflight, I think that would be very important for the future of the country.”
The next speaker on the panel was Capt. Robert L. Crippen, USN (Ret.), a veteran of four space shuttle flights and former President of Thiokol Propulsion and director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center. Crippen’s first astronaut assignment was the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), which was canceled before Crippen had a chance to fly in space. However, he eventually joined the nascent Space Shuttle team. “The experience [of being selected for the Space Shuttle] was really rewarding, actually. Deke Slayton said, ‘I have a lot of work for you to do.’” He did not expect to be picked to fly on the first shuttle mission, STS-1. “John Young was the head of the Astronaut Office at that time, so I knew he would probably be on the first flight, but with someone other than me,” said Crippen. “I thought I would get an early flight, but I didn’t think that I would get the first one. If you're a rookie, you’d like to go with someone who knows what they’re doing, so I was lucky to fly with John.”
Crippen has been watching the waxing and waning of the US manned space program’s fortunes and expressed concern over the lack of an explicit focus for the future. “When Constellation was cancelled, I was pretty chagrined that we had taken away the moon mission. The question is, what mission do we do next? Right now NASA is working on the asteroid retrieval mission that has some benefits. The biggest benefit is that it gives us something to work toward. It’s hard to build something that did not have a specific mission.”
Col. Robert Cabana, USMC (Ret.), the current director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, was the next to speak. He briefly recounted the highlights of his four shuttle missions, and explained that his third mission -- STS-65, which flew for 14 days in July 1994, set the standard for missions on the International Space Station (ISS). He recalls that, at the time, the shuttle program was at its peak and it was proving difficult to recruit astronauts for ISS missions.
On his last mission, STS-88, Cabana’s crew carried the Unity module to orbit and began the assembly of the ISS. “When we finally got on orbit, I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me that everything worked,” said Cabana. “To be able to be the first ones on board, to be able to turn on the lights for the first time, that was really special. It was great flying with that crew.”
Cabana said that it was not very challenging to integrate the various components of the ISS, given that many of them were built in other countries. “It’s about setting out your requirements and then meeting them,” he said. “I think it’s the greatest engineering accomplishment we’ve ever done.”
Cabana said that what’s most important right now is for the US to remain a world leader in space. “If we give that up, we’ll become a second-rate nation. I really believe that.” He pointed out that NASA’s budget is the lowest that it’s ever been, but nothing has been taken off its plate. “There are three variables: cost, technical, and schedule. We’ll never compromise on technical, so that leaves costs and schedules. And when you cut the costs, the only thing you can slide is schedule.” He noted that KSC’s three missions currently are the Orion multipurpose vehicle, the ISS, and the James Webb telescope. He is hopeful that as these and other programs gear up, many of the people who were laid off following the cancellation of the Constellation program and the shuttle may be able to come back to work again.
Asked how NASA’s relationship with commercial space firms are, Cabana made a crucial observation. “Every spacecraft that we’ve ever flown was made by a private contractor, remember. The difference is in how you contract for it and fly it. We want to make sure that we define the requirements well and allow the contractors to meet their requirements.”
What are the ingredients for success? “It’s a matter of national will and policy,” said Cabana. “The president has to say, ‘This is what I want you to do,’ and Congress has to modify and support what the president supports. They key is, once we’re directed to do something, the team will do an excellent job to get there. I think we’re still the first in space. The world is looking to us.”
The final speaker on the morning panel was Captain Ken Ham, USN, the chair of the Aerospace Engineering Department at the Naval Academy. Asked to characterize the significance of his flights, Ham responded, “Looking down this table, they’re insignificant.”
“After graduation from the Academy, around when the movie Top Gun came out, everyone and their brother and sister wanted to go into flight test,” recalls Ham. “So it was really hard to get in. What I learned when I went down there was that there was an incredible amount of talent. Another thing I learned was just how much fun these guys are.”
Summarizing the impact of the 21 shuttle flights that either built or serviced the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope, Ham said, “During that time, we played on all the experience gained before us with regard to space walking, rendezvous, and so on. We accomplished some incredible things as a nation and as an international effort. We assembled it in six years, and it’s amazing.”
Ham said that his students are all very curious about the future of mankind. “Our vision is muddled right now, but I do believe that we’re going to come through this period and come out to a substantiated future. That question is very near and dear to the hearts of everyone here today. One of the privileges of being an astronaut is to share that feeling with people everywhere.” He said that he believes Americans crave a real exploration mission. “I think the failure of Apollo was that it never had a long-range plan. The mission was to tag the moon, and then it ended. We can’t afford to do that again. We can go tag Mars, but if we don’t plan beyond that, then it will just stop again.”
“When I look up into the the sky at the moon, it’s epic. When I look at Mars, it’s epic. It seems to me to be completely obvious that we need to go there, and I think if we decide to do it, the American people will support it.”
Lunch Keynote Discussion: International Space Station: The Greatest Human Engineering Accomplishment
Miles O'Brien, Science Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and the 2013 Forrestal Lecturer, moderated the lunch panel discussion. Due to the government shutdown, several of the scheduled panelists were unable to attend the conference. However, Col. George D. Zamka, USMC (Ret.), Capt. Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr. USN (Ret.), and Mr. Michael D. Griffin, former Administrator of NASA, kindly filled in at the last moment.
O’Brien noted that the ISS originally began as a Cold War initiative under President Reagan and was originally intended to compete with the Soviet space station program, but eventually became an unprecedentedly successful international program that included the two former rivals working together.
The first speaker on the panel was Col. George D. Zamka, USMC (Ret.), who flew two shuttle missions. He said that it would not have been easier had the US attempted to implement the ISS program without international cooperation. “The contributions of all the other nations made it possible for us to get the ISS up there. It would definitely have been harder without them.” He believes that NASA is doing a good job with testing and assembly, hardware, and research on the effects of long-duration space missions on the human body. “NASA does all those things well, and the great majority of the things we learn along the way are unanticipated. There’s an old saying that we explore space to learn more about ourselves on earth, and I believe that’s true. The things we do in space benefit down here on earth, such as mechanical processes, and working together as members of different countries.”
However, he said, there are definitely stresses that need to be prepared for in order to ensure success on long-duration missions. “When you are on the ISS, you are living with five faces that never change. If you're having a bad day, you can’t just go away,” he said. “In addition, you have a computer that displays your schedule, with a red line that marches across as the day goes on and lets you know where you are in your schedule. When you start falling behind, the temptation for the ground is to call up and ask how it’s going. And that may not be a call you want to take at that time. So people need the interpersonal skills to thrive in that environment. The Astronaut Office is good at getting people like that.”
The next speaker was Capt. Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr., USN (Ret.), a professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Naval Academy and formerly an executive with Lockheed Martin. He discussed how, in the early days of the ISS program, there was much trial and error in learning to work with the Russian cosmonauts. “We tried to combine the best of both US and Russia to learn how we both did science and other things,” said Reightler. “It was difficult because at the time we were still Cold Warriors. We weren’t comfortable working with them. But as we worked with them more, that went away. We discovered that from the operator perspective, we were very similar.” And as it turned out, he had plenty to learn from them. “I had been in space for five days, and I was training a cosmonaut who had been in space for 15 months. I leave it to you to decide who learned more from whom.”
With the end of the Cold War, Reightler was optimistic that the exchange program and partnership would eventually succeed. “Most of us saw that there was a window of opportunity. For those of us who had studied some history, we knew this was one of those opportunities that arise in history, and we wanted to seize that.” He said that the value of the partnership was well worth the extra effort to overcome the initial complexities, and in fact was probably a catalyst for ensuring continued US involvement. “In many ways, I think had we not had international agreements to honor, our country may have chosen not to pursue the ISS. It’s our international commitments that kept our nose to grindstone.”
Reightler said that the initial crew exchange that he participated in with astronaut Richard Covey was very valuable for the overall success of the ISS as an international program. “I believe that if we had not taken those initial steps, had we not learned from those things along the way, I don’t think we would have been successful. I don’t think we would have been able to transition from short-duration missions like what we were doing on the shuttle to long-duration missions like what they do on the ISS.” He adds that the ISS program has had a significant effect on the crew selection process that NASA uses. “From a mental perspective, a psychological perspective, and a medical perspective, it has really informed how we select crews.”
For his closing thoughts, Reightler pointed out that large-scale international programs take time, effort, and relationships that are developed to the point of confidence for all parties. “We have talked a lot about how hard it is to live and work in space today, but if you work hard and have fun, you can really accomplish a lot.”
CAPT William McMichael Shepherd, USN (Ret.), an astronaut on Expedition 1 and a former Navy SEAL, was the next to speak. He discussed the various cultures that affect an international program on the scale of the ISS. “I think you have to talk about ‘culture’ in a number of different senses,” he said. “In my time at NASA, there were many people who cherished the model of the Gemini and Apollo way of doing things, and wanted to keep that. The Russians see themselves as the leaders in space and they view us as the upstarts who rode their coattails to glory. And having lived in Russia for five years, I think there’s some merit to that. But I also think that in many ways, they’re still living in a world that existed 50 years ago.”
“I found that figuring out what the ISS should look like, how it should fly, who would build it, who would pay for it, that was secondary to meshing the cultures of all the players -- not just the US and Russia but the Japanese and the Canadians and the Norwegians,” added Shepherd. “The ISS is a great laboratory for making that work.”
Shepherd, whose experience living and working with Russian cosmonauts for an extended period of time affords him a unique perspective on international cooperation, discussed the differences between the US and Russian approaches to design, testing, and operation. “In the US, we test things prior to building the final models. The Russians do things differently. They test dozens of engines to parade rest, find what fails, and then they fix it. In the end, they end up with really robust hardware. We don’t do it that way.” Shepherd said that for an astronaut, the difference is not a trivial one. “When you would push the space shuttle’s main engines to the firewall, you crossed your fingers. When the Russians push theirs to the firewall, you have a feeling of confidence.”
Shepherd believes that NASA is missing opportunities to learn from the Russian’s hard-won experience with flight operations. “NASA is leaving these pearls on the floor. They’re not picking those things up. This is a big mistake that NASA has made in the recent past.” He points out that most of the engineers who knew how to build the Saturn’s F1 engine are now dead, and their engineering legacy has been lost. “That loss of intellectual capital is a real emerging issue. That’s why we have to take the best of what 16 nations have to offer. That’s why I think the ISS is essentially a hood ornament for the what we really need to be doing.”
As an example, Shepherd discussed how, on Expedition 1, the crew took the initiative to diagnose and repair several minor malfunctions after they believed mission control was moving too slowly to address them and was being overly risk-averse. He argues that NASA’s current approach to crew management, which was developed during the Apollo missions and calls for constant supervision from mission control, is not suitable for the long-duration missions of today and tomorrow. Astronauts on the ISS and on deep-space missions will require greater autonomy he said, drawing an analogy between the ISS and a sailing ship of the 1700s. “We haven’t thought enough about these changes and what they’re going to mean for us in the long term,” he said. On the other hand, Shepherd believes that the “can-do” attitude such as that exhibited by his crew is typical of what is ingrained in the American psyche, and that a Mars mission would bring out that characteristic in people again.
“The human species is tremendously adaptable, and what was so amazing to me was how easily we adapt to being in this amazingly unreasonable environment. If you want to answer the question of what’s possible for the human species -- is it this one blue orb, or is it somewhere else in the cosmos? -- I know that you wont get an answer to that if you don’t support projects like ISS.”
Wrapping up the lunchtime panel was Mr. Michael D. Griffin, former Administrator of NASA and currently the CEO of Schafer Corporation, and -- according to Miles O’Brien -- famous for once telling a reporter, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”
Griffin argued that the US has benefitted more from ISS as an international program than it would have had it decided to develop a space station on its own. “The US could easily build and deploy a space station on its own. It’s not a question of insufficient money. The amount of money voted for the stimulus in 2008-9 was greater than the total spent by NASA in its entire history. So the US can do so if it wants to. But I do not think that it should. I think the greatest outcome of the ISS is the international partnerships that it created. What happened in the 1930s should demonstrate that isolation is not an advantage. It behooves us to develop international relationships and partnerships. Every nation wants its people to fly in space, and that is something that we can offer. Even if the ISS had been five times the price, it would still have been worth it.”
Asked what he thinks the logical next step for the US space program is, Griffin responded that, “I’m on record as saying that the logical extension of what we’re doing now is a base on the moon. It’s a much more logical extension than going to Mars.”
However, NASA should keep its options open. “The goal of the US should be to lead other nations and be the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” continued Griffin. “To say that we’re only going to go to ISS or go to the moon or go to Mars is like saying you only want to have a navy of destroyers and no submarines and no cruisers and no resupply tankers. That’s utterly and completely missing the point. If we wish to be a great nation in the future, our mission should be a prepossessing presence in all of those things. The United States should bot be a one-trick pony.”
Griffin concluded by arguing that setting a deadline on the nation’s ISS commitment was ultimately counterproductive for innovation and discovery. “Our official commitment is through 2020,” he notes. “We’ve spent 25 years and all this fiscal capital and political capital on the project. Why wouldn’t you think of anything other than keeping it running as long as you can? I don’t know of another large capital project on earth that people have put a sunset on it and cut it short like that. You want to attract world class scientists with ideas that probably weren’t thought of when the station was launched. We like to think that people are going to come up with new ideas and ways to use the laboratory to do that.”
During the lunchtime panel, the attendees were also treated to a recorded message of greeting from Dr. Karen Nyberg and Col. Michael S. Hopkins, USAF, from aboard the ISS.
Afternoon Panel: Commercial Spaceflight Pioneers
The final panel of the 2013 Naval History Conference featured a roster of leaders from the US commercial space industry. Moderator Capt. Michael Lopez-Alegria, USN, President, of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, noted that while the first panel focused on the history of the US manned space program and the second panel focused on its present, this final panel promised to give attendees a glimpse of the future. “Whereas the other panels have had stories to tell, the stories of these panelists have yet to be written,” Lopez-Alegria said. “And we look forward to hearing about them here.” At the same time, he added, it’s important to remember that the future is built from the past and the present. “We’re standing on the shoulders of giants, and the view is great from up here,” he said.
Before opening the floor to the panel, Lopez-Alegria began by defining the markets for the various types of suborbital and orbital missions that commercial space flight are, and will be, undertaking. “Commercial means commerce, and commerce means money, so you have to have a business plan,” he summarized, noting that suborbital space tourism could potentially double the number of people who have been in space to date. Conservative estimates are that suborbital commercial space programs could generate $600 million over the next 10 years, while other estimates predict a much higher figure. “The orbital human market is a bit more tricky,” he said. “While orbital tourism is doable, it’s expensive. And more want to fly than there are seats available. So the biggest known market in commercial orbital is the government.” As a result, commercial space ventures should be willing to accept a larger government share of funding.
Due to the government shutdown, Maj. Gen, Charles F. Bolden Jr., USMC (Ret.), the Administrator of NASA, was unable to attend, but Lopez-Alegria read a message from him describing the recent successful flights of vehicles by SpaceX and Orbital, two of the companies represented on the panel. “We now have two commercial space partners that will allow us to focus on deep space projects,” wrote Bolden. “Our goal is to be able to launch people to the ISS by 2017. We are not helped by the current shutdown, which will affect our ability to make that date.”
The first speaker, Capt. Frank Culbertson, USN (Ret.), the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Programs Group at Orbital Sciences, began by reiterating what other panelists have said about having been in space. “Space flight is a very special experience and those of us who have done it are extremely privileged,” he said. “We are the tip of the spear.” Echoing the point raised by William Shepherd in the previous panel, Culbertson explained, “When I flew on the ISS, we didn’t always have constant communications, so we really were autonomous. Being on the ISS is like being on a ship at sea that’s on a long voyage.”
Culbertson briefly reviewed the history of Orbital Sciences, noting that it was established 32 years ago. Since then, the company’s Pegasus launch vehicle has flown 42 times. Orbital Sciences also manufactures target vehicles and interceptors for the military, commercial and science satellites, and manufactured Landsat 8. Orbital’s Minotaur V booster launched the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) lunar exploration mission earlier this year. “We have about 1,000 years of orbital experience under our belt,” said Culbertson. Just last week, one of Orbital’s Antares boosters launched the company’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft on its first mission to dock with the ISS, which it completed successfully.
“We think that the future of the ISS is linked to the future of human space flight in even a more important way now,” said Culbertson. “If we don’t support it, the generation that’s at the Naval Academy now won’t have a space station.”
The next speaker on the panel was Mr. John Elbon, the Vice President and General Manger of the Boeing Company’s Space Exploration Division. “I think we’re on the cusp of a commercial space industry,” Elbon began by saying. “We’re getting a lot of science out of the ISS, and I think that it is pointing the way to a real viable commercial market.”
Elbon explained that not only does Boeing have a long history with manned space flight, having been involved in every one of NASA’s manned space vehicle in some way, but it also has a long history with the risks involved in manned space flight as well. For example, Boeing canceled the Delta 4 following the cancelation of the Constellation program, when no viable alternative markets appeared for it. Its innovative Sea Launch program was also canceled. The company’s purchase of Hughes’ commercial satellite division proved to be an unsuccessful purchase. “It is very important for us to go into this cautiously and invest wisely for our stockholders,” explained Elbon. That being said, “Is now the time? I think it is,” he said.
Boeing is looking at the space tourism market, explained Elbon. “NASA has put into place a program that allows us to build a business case that has a limit on the downside risk and also has significant upside risks. I think it’s just a brilliant approach that’s going to meet the market’s needs.”
Boeing is currently developing the CST-100 (for Commercial Space Transportation, 100 Kilometers) spacecraft in partnership with Bigelow Aerospace. It is designed to provide crew transportation to the ISS and Bigelow’s proposed commercial stations. “We’re trying to capture the skills and knowledge that we used on our other space programs to make this program more effective and affordable,” explained Elbon. In an effort to make the CST-100 safe, reliable, and affordable, the design is based on the shape of the Apollo spacecraft, the dynamics of which are well known, and it will be launched on existing boosters starting with the proven Atlas 5. It will also use many existing systems. At the same time, the CST-100 will include innovations, such as the use of a spun-form pressure vessel to eliminate the risk of weld failure. Manned flights are anticipated for 2016, with servicing missions to commence the following year.
“We’re designing the capsule to be compatible with other launch vehicles that are coming along, and perhaps with launch vehicles that are being developed in other countries, which could result in an international program,” said Elbon.
In his final comments, Elbon explained that the benefits of having an in-house manned space program are not all financial. “Within Boeing, we are one percent of the company’s revenue, but we are about 25% of the company’s advertising and photos. It’s an incredible recruiting tool and an incredible motivator.”
Mr. Mark Sirangelo, the Corporate Vice President of Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, was the next speaker on the panel. He opened his remarks by encouraging the students in the audience to consider the example of the panelists they have seen so far to consider a career in the space industry. “I think that the main message is that this is a really cool place to be,” he said. “You get to do some things that you ever thought you would do. The future may seem like such a long way from where you are now, but it really isn’t.” Turning to the panel, he added, “I think I speak for each of us here that this is not something we do because we think it’s just a job. It’s a passion.”
Sirangelo described Sierra Nevada’s participation in the Curiosity Mars lander program. “We were responsible for the last minute of the ‘Seven Minutes of Terror.’” He described Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser reusable spaceplane, which is designed to be flown on an Atlas 5 and carry between two and seven people into orbit. Sirangelo explained that the Dream Catcher design team has benefitted from the experience of NASA and its contractors with the Space Shuttle. “Nothing in space ever happens in one generation,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have 135 missions of the Space Shuttle to help us decide what a space plane should look like.”
“I like to say that my job is to build the systems that will allow you to build the apps that will allow people to live and work in space,” Sirangelo said in conclusion. He said that his proudest moment will be when his company helps Americans return to space in American-made space vehicles. “The most important thing you will be able to feel, and it’s something that we here on this panel can feel now, is to take something that only existed in your head and turn it into something that you can see and touch and launch into space.”
Mr. Timothy Hughes, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at SpaceX, followed Mr. Sirangelo by introducing himself somewhat apologetically. “I’m a lawyer and I used to work in Congress,” he said. “I apologize on both counts!”
SpaceX was founded by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, who, according to Hughes, often jokes that, “The quickest way to make a small fortune in the rocket business is to start with a large one.” However, the company’s investment in commercial space has proved to be a good one, he said. “Our philosophical goals are to increase the access to space and eventually to make humanity a multi-planetary species. When you walk around our factories you will see a lot of young engineers wearing T-shirts that say, ‘Occupy Mars’. That’s their raison d’être.”
Hughes pointed out that his company is not in competition with NASA. “Our job is to enable NASA, to help it accomplish its missions.” SpaceX does this through vertical integration of the manufacturing process. “When we analyzed the space launch market to determine what we could do differently to drive down costs, one thing was patently clear: we needed to control the entire process,” explaind Hughes. “Raw materials go in the front, and Merlin rocket engines come out the back.” This approach helped SpaceX become the first company to have a commercial mission with NASA.
For SpaceX, failure is an important part of the learning process. “When we started as a company, our first vehicle was called Falcon 1. The first three times, it failed. And for the fourth launch, we were all in. The future of the company was on the line. And it was successful.” Hughes praised NASA’s COTS program, which pays contractors only when they reach milestones, as a means of saving taxpayer dollars. “We developed that vehicle and the Dragon capsule with $400 million of government money, and at least that much of our own. Later it was estimated that if the contract had been pursued in the traditional manner, it would have cost between $1.4 and $1.8 billion.
SpaceX currently has 50 contracts. “So we’re not lacking for contracts,” said Hughes. “When we look at the market share, we see Russia, Japan, and France as our competitors.”
The final speaker on the commercial space panel was Mr. Bretton Alexander, the Director of Business Development and Strategy at Blue Origin, LLC, which has both the commercial crew and suborbital programs. Noting that he doesn’t have the aptitude or the drive to be an astronaut in the same mold as the original astronauts that went through the rigorous selection criteria mentioned by James Lovell, Alexander explained that commercial space flight has the potential to do away with those criteria. “The time now is to change that, and everyone should be able to go into space,” said Alexander. “I think everyone is moving toward that eventuality. We’d like to see everyone be able to go.”
Blue Origin was founded in 2000 by entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, who is the primary funder. “He wanted to find a way to get more people into space to do more things,” said Alexander. “We are laser-focused on getting people into space. We have chosen to do manned and reusable systems since the beginning. We hope to be able to fly cargo someday, but we really want to to fly people first.”
Though the company is privately financed, it works closely with NASA as part of the Commercial Crew Program. “What we enjoy with NASA is the access to the tremendous knowledge of manned spaceflight, without which we would be nowhere,” Alexander explained. “We have a good relationship with NASA, and we expect to continue that.”
Alexander stressed that institutional and national cultures need to be able to adapt to change, and that commercial space flight may help encourage that. “We need to adopt a new culture, and I think you can see that happening not only within NASA, but also in industry and the new commercial space companies as well. It’s a time of dynamic change, and the place were going to be in the next 10 to 20 years is going to be much more open.”
“Fundamentally were on a journey to turn space travel from something that’s dangerous to something that is very safe and popular,” Alexander explained. Addressing the common conception that his company is secretive, he responded, “We’re not secretive, just quiet. We don’t like to talk about things until we’ve accomplished them. And hopefully you will be hearing a lot more from about us in the future.”
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The U.S. Naval Institute Press offers two books for reference on the topic of space and space exploration. Please click on the title to purchase.
Written by veteran aerospace journalist Bob Ward, who spent years investigating his subject, this biography presents a revealing but even-handed portrait of the father of modern rocketry. As he chronicles Wernher von Braun's life, Ward explodes many myths and misconceptions about the controversial genius who was a hero to some, a villain to others. The picture of von Braun that emerges is of a brilliant scientist with limitless curiosity and a drive to achieve his goals at almost any price—from developing the world's first ballistic missile used against the Allies in World War II to helping launch the first U.S. satellite that hurled Americans into space and the Saturn V super-booster that powered them to the moon. Along the way readers are introduced to the human side of this charismatic visionary who brought the United States into the Space Age.
In the 1950s and early 1960s a small fraternity of daring, brilliant men made the first exploratory trips into the upper stratosphere, reaching the edge of outer space in tiny capsules suspended beneath plastic balloons. This book tells the story of these tenacious men as they labored on the cusp of a new age, seeing things that no one had ever seen and experiencing conditions no one was sure they could survive.
Mostly U.S. Air Force and Navy officers, among them doctors, physicists, meteorologists, engineers, astronomers, and test pilots, they struggled with meager budgets, bureaucratic politics, and one another. It is a thrilling story of tremendous personal sacrifice and great risk for the promise of adventure and the opportunity to uncover a few precious aspects of the universe. Capt. Joseph Kittinger, for example, rode a balloon up to 103,000 feet in an open gondola and then stepped out and freefell to Earth, becoming the only person to break the sound barrier without a vehicle. Lt. Col. David Simons stayed aloft for a full day and night in a primitive pressurized capsule to become one of the first to see the curvature of the planet. In this work, Craig Ryan masterfully captures the drama of their spectacular achievements and those of many of the other space pioneers who made America's stratospheric balloon programs possible.
ASTP - Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
STS- Space Suttle Mission
EXP - Expedition
|8:00AM - 8:45AM||Continental Breakfast |
|8:45AM - 9:00AM||Welcome Remarks |
|9:05AM - 9:45AM||Morning Keynote |
|9:45AM - 10:00AM||Break |
|10:00AM - 11:30AM||Morning Panel: Mercury to Shuttle: Guts and Ingenuity |
|11:30AM - 12:00PM||Break |
|12:00PM - 1:30PM||Lunch Keynote Discussion: International Space Station: The Greatest Human Engineering Accomplishment |
|1:30PM - 1:45PM||Break |
|1:45PM - 3:20PM||Afternoon Panel: Commercial Spaceflight Pioneers |
|3:20PM - 3:30PM||Closing Remarks |
Gemini 6A, Gemini 9A, Apollo 10 and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
PERSONAL DATA: Born September 17, 1930, in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Married to the former Linda Ann Dishman of Chelsea, Oklahoma. They have two sons, Michael Thomas and Stanislav Stas Patten. First marriage was to the former Faye L. Shoemaker. They have two daughters, Dionne Kay and Karin Elaine as well as two grandsons, Thomas P. Stafford II and Andrew Alexi Harrison. Linda has two children from a previous marriage, Kassie Neering and Mark Hill, and four grandchildren: Sloane, Lee, Marcus and Tara. He enjoys hunting, scuba diving, fishing and deep sea fishing and swimming.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Weatherford High School, Weatherford, Oklahoma; received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1952. In addition, General Stafford is the recipient of several honorary degrees. These include a doctorate of laws from the University of Cordoba, Argentina, a doctorate of humane letters, University of Oklahoma and a masters of humane letters, Southwestern University, Weatherford, Oklahoma; a doctorate of science from Oklahoma City University; a doctorate of laws, Western State University, Los Angeles California; doctorate of communications, Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts; a doctorate of aeronautical engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, and a doctorate of humanities, Oklahoma Christian College, Edmond, Oklahoma.
ORGANIZATION: Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and a member of the Masonic Lodge.
SPECIAL HONORS: NASA Distinguished Service Medals (2), NASA Exceptional Service Medals (2), Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings. Other awards include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Chanute Flight Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Space Award, National Geographic Society's General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy, Federation Aeronautique Internationale Gold Space Medal. In 1966, he was co-recipient of the IAAA Award. He was honored with the Harmon International Aviation Trophy in 1966 and 1976. In 1969 he received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Special Trustees Award and in 1978 the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Kitty Hawk Sands of Time Award; received the Society of Experimental Test Pilots James H. Doolittle Award for Management, September 1979, October 1979, received the NASA Medal for outstanding leadership, one of the Agency's highest awards. In 1993 General Stafford was the eighth recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and received the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA). He served as the Chairman of the Operations Oversight Committee of the first Hubble Telescope Spacecraft Servicing and Repair Mission that corrected the design and manufacturing defect of the instrument. In 1994, NASA recognized his tremendous efforts and presented him with the NASA Public Service Award for the Hubble Telescope Service and Repair Mission. General Stafford was inducted into the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor in October 1994, and to the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Aerospace Walk of Honor in 1997.
EXPERIENCE: General Stafford graduated with honors in 1952 from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He received his pilot wings at Connally AFB, Waco, Texas, in September 1953. He completed advanced interceptor training and was assigned to the 54th Flight Interceptor Squadron, Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota. In December 1955 he was assigned to the 496th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Hahn Air Base, Germany, where he performed the duties of pilot, flight leader, and flight test maintenance office, flying F-86Ds. He was an instructor in flight test training and specialized academic subjects-establishing basic textbooks and directing the writing of flight test manuals for use by the staff and students. He is co-author of the Pilot's Handbook for Performance Flight Testing and the Aerodynamics Handbook for Performance Flight Testing.
General Stafford was selected among the second group of astronauts in September 1962 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to participate in Projects Gemini and Apollo. In December 1965, he piloted Gemini VI the first rendezvous in space, and helped develop techniques to prove the basic theory and practicality of space rendezvous. In June 1966 he commanded Gemini IX and performed a demonstration of an early rendezvous that would be used in Apollo, the first optical rendezvous, and a lunar orbit abort rendezvous. From August 1966 to October 1968 he headed the mission planning analysis and software development responsibilities for the astronaut group for Project Apollo.
General Stafford was the lead member of the group, which helped formulate the sequence of missions leading to the first lunar landing mission. He demonstrated and implemented the theory of a pilot manually flying the Saturn booster into orbit and the translunar injection maneuver.
General Stafford was commander of Apollo 10 in May 1969, first flight of the lunar module to the moon, performed the first rendezvous around the Moon, and performed the entire lunar landing mission except the actual landing.
He also made reconnaissance and tracking on future Apollo landing sites. General Stafford was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for highest speed ever attained by man, that occurred during Apollo 10 reentry when the spacecraft attained 24,791 statute miles per hour.
He was assigned as head of the astronaut group in June 1969, responsible for the selection of flight crews for projects Apollo and Skylab. He reviewed and monitored flight crew training status reports, and was responsible for coordination, scheduling, and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts.
In June 1971, General Stafford was assigned as Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations at the NASA Manned Space flight Center. He was responsible for assisting the director in planning and implementation of programs for the astronaut group, the Aircraft Operations, Flight Crew Integration, Flight Crew Procedures, and Crew Simulation and Training Divisions.
He logged his fourth space flight as Apollo commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission, July 15-24, 1975, a joint space flight culminating in the historic first meeting in space between American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts.
General Stafford was the first member of his Naval Academy Class of 1952 to pin on the first, second and third stars of a General Officer. He has flown six rendezvous in space; logged 507 hours and 43 minutes in space flight and wore the Air Force command Pilot Astronaut Wings. He has flown over 127 different types of aircraft and helicopters and four different types of spacecraft.
General Stafford assumed command of the Air Force Flight Test Center November 4, 1975. He was promoted to the grade of Major General August 9, 1975, with date of rank of June 1, 1973.
Gen. Stafford was promoted Lt. Gen. on March 15, 1978 and on May 1, 1978 assumed the duties as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development and Acquisition, HQ USAF, Wash., DC. During this time Gen. Stafford was personally involved in initiating the F-117A Stealth Fighter. In early 1979, he wrote the initial desired specifications on and started the advanced technology bomber development, now designated the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Gen. Stafford retired from the Air Force in November 1979.
In June of 1990, Vice President Quayle and Admiral Richard Truly, then NASA Administrator, asked General Stafford to Chair a team to independently advise NASA how to carry out President Bush's vision of returning to the Moon, this time to stay, and then go on to explore Mars. General Stafford assembled teams of 40 full-time and 150 part-time members from the DOD, DOE and NASA, and completed the study called "America at the Threshold", a road map for the next 30 years of the U.S. Manned Space Flight Program. General Stafford and Vice President Quayle held a joint Press Conference at the White House in June 1991 to announce the recommendations to the public. The Clinton Administration directed a review of all federally-funded research and development plans of the Executive Branch in 1994. Gen. Stafford chaired the committee to review and make recommendations to enhance the efficiency of the R&D initiatives of the NASA Human Exploration Enterprise that included JSC, KSC, MSFC and SSFC.
He co-founded the Technical Consulting Firm of Stafford, Burke, and Hecker, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia. He sits on the Board of Directors of six corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange, one listed on the American Exchange, and two others, including Seagate Technology, Inc. Seagate Technology is the largest independent hard disk drive maker in the world. He has served as an advisor to a number of governmental agencies including NASA and the Air Force Systems Command. He was a defense advisor to Ronald Reagan during the presidential campaign and a member of the Reagan transition team. He served on the National Research Council's Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board; the Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews and Vice President Quayle's Space Policy Advisory Council. He was Chairman of the NASA Advisory Council Task Force on Shuttle-Mir Rendezvous and Docking Missions, is currently Chairman of the NASA Advisory Council Task Force on ISS Operational Readiness, and Co-Chairman of the Stafford-Covey Space Shuttle Return to Flight Task Group.
Director of Business Development and Strategy, Blue Origin, LLC
Bretton (Brett) Alexander is Director of Business Development and Strategy for Blue Origin, LLC, a developer of vehicles and technologies to enable human space transportation. From October 2009 to October 2011, Brett was a member of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), serving as the chair of the Commercial Space Committee, assessing NASA’s partnership with industry to develop commercial crew and cargo capabilities to support the International Space Station and private spaceflight. Brett has served as a member of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) since 2008.
Brett previously served as a senior policy analyst for space issues in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he served both Presidents Bush and Clinton. While at the White House, he played a central role in development of the Vision for Space Exploration, announced in January 2004.
From December 2006 to May 2011, Brett served as President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the industry association of businesses and organizations working to make commercial human spaceflight a reality. From 2008 to 2011, Brett was also a consultant in the space industry, providing strategy and business development advice to launch service providers and vehicle developers, as well as assessment of international space activities to NASA.
From 2007 to 2008, Brett served as the executive director for Space and the X PRIZE Cup at the X PRIZE Foundation, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Google Lunar X Prize, the Lunar Lander Challenge, and the X PRIZE Cup. He was also senior advisor to Transformational Space Corporation (t/Space) from 2005 to 2007. Prior to the White House, Mr. Alexander held positions in the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation, The Aerospace Corporation, and ANSER Corporation.
Mr. Alexander holds Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Administrator, NASA and STS-61-C, STS-31, STS-45 and STS-60
Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., began his duties as the twelfth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on July 17, 2009. As Administrator, he leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the agency’s missions and goals.
Bolden’s confirmation marks the beginning of his second stint with the nation’s space agency. His 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. After joining the office in 1980, he traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions. His flights included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew. Prior to Bolden’s nomination for the NASA Administrator’s job, he was employed as the Chief Executive Officer of JACKandPANTHER LLC, a small business enterprise providing leadership, military and aerospace consulting, and motivational speaking.
A resident of Houston, Bolden was born Aug. 19, 1946, in Columbia, S.C. He graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Bolden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After completing flight training in 1970, he became a naval aviator. Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, while stationed in Namphong, Thailand, from 1972-1973.
After returning to the U.S., Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps in California and earned a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. Following graduation, he was assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980.
Bolden’s NASA astronaut career included technical assignments as the Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center; Chief of the Safety Division at Johnson (overseeing safety efforts for the return to flight after the 1986 Challenger accident); lead astronaut for vehicle test and checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator at NASA Headquarters. After his final space shuttle flight in 1994, he left the agency to return to active duty with the operating forces in the Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Bolden was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific in 1997. During the first half of 1998, he served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. Bolden was promoted to his final rank of major general in July 1998 and named Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan. He later served as the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., from 2000 until 2002, before retiring from the Marine Corps in 2003. Bolden’s many military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.
Director, NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center and STS-41, STS-53, STS-65 and STS-88
Robert D. Cabana, a former NASA astronaut, currently serves as the tenth director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In this role, Cabana manages all NASA facilities and activities at the spaceport, including the team of civil service and contractor employees who operate and support numerous space programs and projects.
Born in Minneapolis, Minn., Cabana graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and completed Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola in 1972. Cabana then served as an A-6 bombardier/navigator with Marine Air Wings in Cherry Point, N.C., and Iwakuni, Japan.
Returning to Pensacola in 1975, Cabana began pilot training and was designated a naval aviator in September 1976, earning the Daughters of the American Revolution award as the top Marine to complete flight training that year. He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1981 and served in the Flight Systems Branch at the Naval Air Test Center until 1984. During his career, Cabana has logged over 7,000 hours in 45 different kinds of aircraft.
Cabana was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 1985 and completed his initial astronaut training in July 1986. He was assigned to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Astronaut Office, serving in a number of leadership positions, including lead astronaut in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory; Mission Control Spacecraft Communicator, famously known as CAPCOM; and chief of NASA's Astronaut Office.
A veteran of four spaceflights, Cabana has logged 38 days in space, serving as the pilot on STS-41 and STS-53 and mission commander on STS-65 and STS-88. His fourth flight was the first assembly mission of the International Space Station in December of 1998. Following his retirement as a colonel from the Marine Corps in September 2000, Cabana was appointed a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service. He served in numerous challenging senior management positions at Johnson Space Center in Houston, ultimately becoming deputy director.
In October 2007, Cabana was appointed director of NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. A year later he was reassigned as the tenth director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Cabana's many achievements have been recognized with induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and being named an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received numerous personal awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, and the National Space Club Florida Committee's Dr. Kurt H. Debus Award. He is also a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
He is married to the former Nancy Joan Shimer of Cortland, N.Y. They have three grown children.
STS-127 and EXP-35/36
PERSONAL DATA: Born January 4, 1970 in Salem, Massachusetts. Considers York, Maine, to be his hometown. Married. He and his wife, Julie, are the proud parents of three children.
York High School, York, Maine.
Naval Academy Prep School, Newport, Rhode Island, 1989.
B.S., Mathematics, U.S. Naval Academy, 1993.
M.S., Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000.
ORGANIZATIONS: U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association; Massachussetts Institute of Technology Alumni Association; Fraternal Order of UDT/SEAL Association
SPECIAL HONORS: Honor graduate of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Class 192. Awarded the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ and Presidential Unit Citation for leading a 9-day operation at the Zharwar Kili cave complex – a national priority objective directly on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Guest speaker at the U.S. Naval Academy Combat Leadership Seminar (2003, 2004). Awarded a second Bronze Star for combat leadership service in Afghanistan in 2004. Recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.
EXPERIENCE: Ten years as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams. Specialized tactics include long-range special reconnaissance (vehicular and foot patrols); direct action building assaults; noncompliant ship-boardings; desert reconnaissance patrols; combat diving; underwater explosives; and a variety of air operations, including parachuting, fast roping, and rappelling. He made four six-month deployments: two to Afghanistan, and two to the Mediterranean. Cassidy served as Executive Officer and Operations Officer of Special Boat Team Twenty in Norfolk, Virginia, and SEAL Platoon Commander at SEAL Team THREE in Coronado, California. He deployed to the Afghanistan region two weeks after 9/11/01, served as Ground Assault Force Commander for international and U.S.-only combat missions in Afghanistan, and led two months of noncompliant ship-boardings in the Northern Arabian Gulf. He was SEAL Delivery Vehicle Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO in Norfolk, VA. He accumulated more than 200 hours underwater as Pilot/ Navigator/Mission Commander of a two-man flooded submersible SEAL Delivery Vehicle (or SDV), which is launched and recovered from a host-ship submarine. He also served as Dry Deck Shelter Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Team TWO in Norfolk, VA. Cassidy volunteered for and completed a week-long, 180-mile charity kayak paddle from Norfolk, VA to Washington, D.C. to raise money and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Cassidy was selected by NASA in May 2004. In February 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. Completion of this initial training qualified him for various technical assignments within the Astronaut Office and future flight assignment as a mission specialist. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Capsule Commander (CAPCOM) in Mission Control. In July 2009, Cassidy completed his first space flight and logged more than 376 hours in space, including 18 hours and 5 minutes of EVA in three spacewalks.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-127, International Space Station Assembly Mission 2J/A, Endeavour (July 15-31, 2009) delivered the Japanese-built Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section (ELM-ES) to the station. The crew completed the construction of the KIBO Japanese Experiment Module, installed scientific experiments on its Exposed Facility and delivered critical spare parts and replacement batteries to the orbital complex, in addition to transferring 24,638 pounds of hardware and 1,225 pounds of water to the station.While the shuttle was docked to the station, the mission featured a record 13 astronauts working aboard the station representing all five space station partners: NASA, the Russian Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency. Cassidy performed three spacewalks totaling 18 hours and 5 minutes. The mission was accomplished in 248 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6,547,853 million miles in 15 days, 16 hours, 44 minutes and 58 seconds.
Expedition 35/36 to the International Space Station - On March 28, 2013, Cassidy launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan along with Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin. The three crew members were the first to complete an expedited trip to the station - instead of taking the standard two days to rendezvous and dock, they arrived at the orbiting complex in less than six hours. Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin were welcomed to the space station by Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of Roscosmos, who have been aboard the outpost since December 2012.
STS-1, STS-7, STS-41-C and STS-41-G
Robert L. Crippen (Captain, USN, retired) is currently retired. He was previously President of Thiokol Propulsion where he served from December, 1996 to April, 2001. Thiokol produces the Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motors and other defense and commercial solid rocket motors.
Prior to joining Thiokol, he served as a Vice President with Lockheed Martin Information Systems in Orlando, Florida from April, 1995 to November, 1996.
Crippen served as the director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center from January l992 to January 1995. In this position he was responsible for all activities occurring on the U. S.'s gateway to the universe. During his tenure, the center processed, safely launched, and recovered 22 Space Shuttle Missions. He provided leadership for over thirteen thousand civil service and contractor personnel. This included oversight of multiple contracts supporting center operations for both manned and unmanned spaceflight. He also implemented cost savings of greater than 25% by establishing and developing new quality management techniques while ensuring the highest safety standards in an extremely hazardous environment.
From January 1990 to January 1992 he served as Director, Space Shuttle, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In this headquarters post he was responsible for the overall Shuttle program requirements, performance, and total program control, including budget, schedule and program content. He was stationed at KSC from July l987 to December 1989, serving as Deputy Director Shuttle Operations for NASA Headquarters. He was responsible for final Shuttle preparation, mission execution and return of the orbiter to KSC following landings at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Born September 11, l937, in Beaumont, Texas, Crippen received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in l960. He was commissioned through the U.S. Navy's Aviation Officer Program. As a Navy pilot from June l962 to November l964, he completed a tour of duty aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence flying A4s in VA-72. He later attended the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Upon graduation he remained at Edwards as an instructor until his selection for the USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) Program in October 1966.
Crippen became a NASA astronaut in September l969. He was a member of the astronaut support crew for the Skylab 2, 3, and 4 missions and for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission. He was the pilot of the first orbital test flight of the Shuttle program (STS-1, April 12-14, l981) and was the commander of three additional shuttle flights: STS-7, June 18-24, 1983; STS-41C, April 6-13, l984; and STS-41G, October 6-13, l984.
His accomplishments have earned him many notable awards: inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor and the SETP’s J. H. Doolittle Award in 2007, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2006, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1972; five awards in l981, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, The American Astronautical Society of Flight Achievement Award, The National Geographic Society's Gardiner Greene Hubbard Medal, the Collier Trophy and SETP’s Iven Kincheloe and Jimmy B. Doolittle Trophies. In l982 he won the FAA’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Goddard Memorial Trophy and the Harmon Trophy. In l984 he received the U.S. Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Medal. He also received NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal in l988 and three Distinguished Service Medals in 1985, 1988, and 1993. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2001. He is also an Honorary Fellow and past President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society and Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Crippen is married to the former Pandora Lee Puckett of Miami, Florida. He has three daughters: Ellen, Susan, and Linda.
Executive Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Programs Group, Orbital Sciences and STS-38, STS-51, STS-105, ExP-3 and STS-108
Frank Culbertson is Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Programs Group for Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia. In this capacity, Mr. Culbertson’s responsibilities include the execution and performance of all Orbital programs related to human space flight including the Commercial Orbital Transportation System as well as multiple National Security Space related projects. Prior to this position at Orbital, Mr. Culbertson was a Senior Vice President for Human Space Systems at Orbital and before that a Senior Vice president at SAIC, following an eighteen-year career as a NASA Astronaut. He has flown three space missions and logged over 144 days in space as a shuttle commander, pilot, and station crewmember. His last mission launched on the Shuttle Endeavour and lasted for 129 days, from August 10 until December 17, 2001. During that mission, he lived and worked aboard the International Space Station for 125 days and was Commander for 117 days. Mr. Culbertson also held several key management positions within the NASA Shuttle and ISS programs and was Program Manager of the Shuttle-Mir Program. Mr. Culbertson is a 1971 graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. He was a naval aviator, a fighter pilot, and a test pilot, and he retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1997. Mr. Culbertson has received numerous honors, including the Legion of Merit, the Navy Flying Cross, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the NAA/FAI Gagarin Gold Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010.
Vice President and General Manger, Space Exploration Division, The Boeing Company
As Vice President and Program Manager, Commercial Crew Programs, John Elbon leads Boeing’s efforts on commercial crew and cargo programs, including our Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Space Act Agreement. Elbon ensures that innovations and capabilities from across Boeing are used in development of space transportation vehicles to support NASA and commercial customers.
He has been Boeing vice president of System of Systems Integration for the Army’s Future Combat Systems, and the Boeing program manager for several NASA programs including Constellation, International Space Station (ISS), and the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) contract at KSC.
As vice president and program manager of ISS, he led Boeing in its role as prime integrating contractor for NASA’s ISS contract to design, develop, test, launch and operate the orbiting laboratory. The multi-billion dollar contract required the coordination of several thousand Boeing employees in five major locations as well as subcontractors and suppliers located in 23 states across the United States.
Prior to leading the ISS team, Elbon managed the CAPPS contract at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. responsible for final assembly and testing of the ISS and other space shuttle payloads.
He holds a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Chair, Aerospace Engineering Department, U.S. Naval Academy and STS-124 and STS-132
PERSONAL DATA: Born December 12, 1964, in Plainfield, New Jersey. Two children, Ryan and Randy. He is married to the former Michelle Lucas of Hobart, Indiana. His parents, Ed and Marion Ham, reside in Brunswick, Maine. Recreational interests include running, weight lifting, all sports, general aviation, snow and water skiing, sky and scuba diving and sailing.
EDUCATION: Arthur L. Johnson Regional High School, Clark, New Jersey, 1983
B.S., Aerospace Engineering, U.S. Naval Academy, 1987
M.S., Aeronautical Engineering, Naval Postgraduate
ORGANIZATIONS: Society of Experimental Test Pilots, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Association of Space Explorers
SPECIAL HONORS: Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School
EXPERIENCE: Ham received his commission as an ensign in the United States Navy from the United States Naval Academy in May 1987. He was temporarily assigned to the NASA-JSC Zero-g Office at Ellington Field, Houston, where he flew as a crew member on the NASA zero-g research aircraft. He was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1989 after completing flight training in the T-34C, T-2C and TA-4J aircraft at NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Beeville, Texas. Ham reported to NAS Cecil Field, Florida for F/A-18 training and subsequent operational assignments with the Privateers of VFA-132 and the Gunslingers of VFA-105. He completed two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, including combat missions over northern Iraq and Bosnia. During these tours, he served as an Air Wing Strike Leader, F/A-18 Demonstration Pilot and Night Vision Goggle Instructor. Ham was selected for the Naval Postgraduate School/Test Pilot School cooperative program, where he studied aeronautical engineering for 18 months in Monterey, California, followed by 12 months of test pilot training at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. He was selected as a team member of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Integrated Test Team as one of five Navy pilots responsible for developing a new fleet of aircraft. This duty involved envelope expansion flight test in arrested landings, catapult assisted takeoffs, weapon separation, propulsion stability, performance and general flying qualities. Ham was serving as the F/A-18E/F lead Carrier Suitability Test Pilot when he was selected for the astronaut program.
He has logged more than 6,000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft and has more than 300 shipboard and 300 land-based arrested landings.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998. His astronaut candidate training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Initially assigned as Ascent/Entry, Orbit and station Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), Ham completed his first spaceflight as pilot on STS-124 and logged more than 13 days in space. He completed his second mission as commander of the STS-132 crew and has logged a total of 25 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes and 9 seconds in space. Subsequently, Ham was assigned to the Aircraft Operations Division as a T-38N instructor pilot and WB-57F research pilot. Ham left the agency in June 2012.
SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-124 Discovery (May 31 to June 14, 2008) was the 123rd space shuttle flight and the 26th space shuttle flight to the International Space Station. STS-124 was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and docked with the station on June 2, 2008, to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System. The STS-124 shuttle astronauts delivered the 37-foot (11-meter) Kibo lab, added its rooftop storage room and performed three spacewalks to maintain the station and prime the new Japanese module’s robotic arm for work during the nine days it was docked at the orbiting laboratory. STS-124 also delivered a new station crew member, Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff. He replaced Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who returned to Earth with the STS-124 crew. The STS-124 mission was completed in 218 orbits, traveling 5,735.643 miles in 13 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 7 seconds.
STS-132 Atlantis (May 14 to May 26, 2010) was the 132nd space shuttle flight and the 32nd shuttle flight to the International Space Station. STS-132 launched from Kennedy Space Center and docked with the station on May 16, 2010, to deliver Rassvet, a Russian-built Mini Research Module (MRM1) to the station. STS-132 shuttle astronauts performed three spacewalks to install a spare antenna and a stowage platform, replace batteries on the P6 truss that store solar energy and retrieve a power data grapple fixture for installation at a later date. They used Atlantis’ robotic arm to remove Rassvet from the shuttle payload bay and hand it to the station robotic arm, Canadarm2, for installation on the Zarya module. The STS-132 mission was completed in 186 orbits, traveling 4,879,978 miles in 11 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds.
Orginial host of Good Morning America
For more than 35 years, David Hartman has produced, written and hosted scores of award winning documentaries for the networks, public television and cable tv. He has created numerous programs about aviation and space for EAA at Oshkosh; the Naval Air Museum, Pensacola; the Flight Test Historical Foundation at Edwards AFB; the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton and the Naval Institute at Annapolis. His profile of test pilots following the tragic crash of a B-1 bomber at Edwards AFB in 1984 earned him the Aviation and Space Journalism Award and a National News and Documentary Emmy for writing. As the original host of Good Morning America, for over 11 years, he conducted more than 12,000 interviews with subjects ranging from world leaders to families in the American heartland. In March, 2010, as panel moderator, he accompanied Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Bob Gilliland and Steve Ritchie on a morale boosting tour visiting our troops in Southwest Asia and the Northern Arabian Sea. In October, 2010 he accompanied the same three naval aviator/ astronauts on another tour of SW Asia bases. In addition to his work in television, Hartman is a nationally and internationally published photojournalist. He holds a BA in Economics and served three years active duty as an officer in the USAF, Strategic Air Command.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, SpaceX
Tim Hughes leads the company's legal, regulatory, and government affairs efforts. Joining SpaceX in 2005 as its first in-house counsel, Tim has defined the legal and government affairs functions from the ground up. Based in SpaceX's Washington, DC office, his responsibilities span the company's corporate, contracting, export control, insurance, litigation and launch licensing portfolios, as well as SpaceX's federal and state government affairs agenda.
Prior to joining SpaceX, Tim served as Majority Counsel to the Committee on Science and Technology in the United States House of Representatives. In this capacity, he provided counsel to the Science Committee, with a particular focus on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. Tim was the principal attorney responsible for drafting and shepherding the passage of commercial human spaceflight legislation, H.R. 3752 and H.R. 5382, and the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (enacted into law as P.L. 108-492), which established the legal and regulatory framework for commercial human spaceflight in the United States.
A graduate of William and Mary Law School and Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Tim previously worked as a senior associate with the Communications and Litigation groups of Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, as well as the Office of the Chief Counsel for the United States Secret Service.
President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation and STS-73, STS-92, STS-113 and EXP-14
Michael Lopez-Alegria is the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. He comes from a distinguished background in aerospace which includes positions as a Naval Aviator and test pilot (Capt., U.S. Navy, Ret.), NASA astronaut and International Space Station (ISS) commander.
Lopez-Alegria received his Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security and speaks Spanish, French and Russian.
He has over three decades of experience with the U.S. Navy and NASA in a variety of roles including Naval Aviator, Navy engineering test pilot and program manager, NASA astronaut, ISS commander, and assistant director of flight crew operations. Lopez-Alegria has flown on Space Shuttle missions STS-73, STS-92, and STS-113, and served as Commander of ISS Expedition 14 in which he flew to and from the ISS aboard a Soyuz TMA-9. He holds three NASA records: longest spaceflight (215 days); most number of Extravehicular Activities (EVA) (10) and cumulative EVA time (67 hours 40 minutes). Lopez-Alegria has most recently served as the Assistant for ISS to the Director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
PERSONAL DATA: Born in Lebanon, Missouri, he grew up on a farm outside Richland, Missouri. Married to the former Julie Stutz of Peoria, Illinois. They have two sons. Recreational interests include backpacking, camping, snow skiing, weight lifting, running, hockey and football. His mother and stepfather, Barbara and Dennis Duffy, reside in Camdenton, Missouri. His father, Ogle Hopkins, is deceased and his stepmother, Paula Hertwig Hopkins, resides in Warrensburg, Missouri.
EDUCATION: School of the Osage High School, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, 1987; B.S. aerospace engineering, University of Illinois, 1991; M.S. aerospace engineering, Stanford University, 1992.
SPECIAL HONORS: Team Captain, 1991 University of Illinois Football Team; Distinguished Graduate, Reserve Officers Training Corps, University of Illinois; Distinguished Graduate and top flight test engineer in USAF Test Pilot School Class 96B; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Aerial Achievement Medal; two Air Force Commendation Medals and three Air Force Achievement Medals.
EXPERIENCE: Hopkins was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in January 1992. In April 1993, he was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he worked on advanced space system technologies. In 1996, he attended the flight test engineering course at the USAF Test Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Following graduation in 1997, he worked at the 418 Flight Test Squadron, testing C-17 and C-130 aircraft. In 1999, he moved to Cold Lake, Alberta, as an exchange officer with the Canadian Flight Test Center. In 2002, Hopkins was selected as an Olmsted Scholar by the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation. Following 6 months of language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, he moved to Parma, Italy, in 2003, where he studied political science at the Università degli Studi di Parma. In 2005, Hopkins was assigned to the USAF Rapid Capabilities Office at the Pentagon, where he served as a project engineer and program manager. In 2008, Hopkins was selected as a special assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he worked until he commenced astronaut training.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Hopkins was selected in July 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. He recently graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station (ISS) systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.
Hopkins has been assigned to the Expedition 37/38 crew as a flight engineer and is scheduled to fly to the ISS aboard Soyuz 36 in September 2013.
Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13
A 1952 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Captain Lovell received his wings in 1954 and subsequently served with VC-3, a night fighter squadron where he flew the F2H Banshee. When the squadron became a Replacement Air Group, he introduced Navy squadrons to the F3H Demon.
After graduating from the Test Pilot School at the Test Center, NAS Patuxent River, he was Program Manager introducing the F4H Phantom to the fleet. In September 1962 he was chosen for the space program. He executed various commands in the Gemini mission program, including; backup pilot for the Gemini 4 flight, and backup commander for Gemini 9 flight. He was the pilot on the history making Gemini 7 flight, which saw the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft in 1965, and the commander of the Gemini 12 mission in 1966 that perfected astronaut extra vehicular operations.
At the close of the Gemini program, Lovell became command Module Pilot and Navigator for the epic 6 day journey on Apollo 8 -- man’s maiden voyage to the moon where he and fellow crewman were the first humans to leave the earth’s gravitational influence. He was backup commander to Neil Armstrong for the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Lovell’s fourth and final flight was on the perilous Apollo 13 mission in 1970. As spacecraft commander, Lovell and his crew successfully modified their lunar module into an effective lifeboat when their cryogenic oxygen system failed. Their emergency activation and operation of the lunar module systems conserved both electrical power and water in sufficient supply to assure their survival in space and their safe return to earth.
Captain Lovell’s education prepared him for the change from explorer to businessman. He attended the University of Wisconsin, graduated from the United States Naval Academy, the University of Southern California - Aviation Safety School, and the Harvard Business School’s Advance Management Program. He has received honorary doctorates from Blackburn University, Mary Hardin - Baylor College, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockhurst College, Susquehanna University, Washington & Jefferson College, Western Michigan University, William Patterson College and Lake Forest College.
He has garnered an impressive share of honors and awards, a few listed: the Harmon, Collier & Goddard Aerospace Trophies, the Presidential Medal for Freedom, the French Legion of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Naval Astronauts Wings, two Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses, FAI De Laval & Gold Space Medals; National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal; and most recently the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Lovell is a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a member of the Navy’s prestigious Golden Eagles.
In 1994, Lovell and Jeff Kluger wrote Lost Moon, the story of the courageous mission of Apollo 13. In 1995, the film version of the bestseller, “Apollo 13” was released to rave reviews.
STS-124 and EXP -36/37
PERSONAL DATA: Born on October 7, 1969. Her hometown is Vining, Minnesota. Married. One child. Recreational interests include running, sewing, drawing and painting, backpacking, piano, and spending time with her family. Dr. Nyberg’s parents, Kenneth and Phyllis Nyberg, still reside in Vining.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Henning Public High School, Henning, Minnesota, 1988. Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, University of North Dakota, 1994. Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1996. Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1998.
SPECIAL HONORS/AWARDS: University of North Dakota Sioux Award (2009); University of Texas Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate Award (2009); University of Texas Outstanding Young Mechanical Engineer Award (2008); University of North Dakota Young Alumni Achievement Award (2004); Space Act Award (1993); NASA JSC Patent Application Award (1993); NASA Tech Briefs Award (1993); NASA JSC Cooperative Education Special Achievement Award (1994); Joyce Medalen Society of Women Engineers Award (1993-94); D.J. Robertson Award of Academic Achievement (1992); University of North Dakota School of Engineering and Mines Meritorious Service Award (1991-1992). Recipient of numerous scholarships and other awards.
EXPERIENCE: Graduate research was completed at The University of Texas at Austin BioHeat Transfer Laboratory where she investigated human thermoregulation and experimental metabolic testing and control, specifically related to the control of thermal neutrality in space suits.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Co-op at Johnson Space Center from 1991-1995, working in a variety of areas. She received a patent for work done in 1991 on Robot Friendly Probe and Socket Assembly. In 1998, on completing her doctorate, she accepted a position with the Crew and Thermal Systems Division, working as an Environmental Control Systems Engineer.
Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in July 2000, Dr. Nyberg reported for training in August 2000. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations branch where she served as Crew Support astronaut for the Expedition 6 crew during their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. Dr. Nyberg has since served in the Space Shuttle branch, the Exploration branch, and as Chief of the Robotics branch. She completed her first spaceflight in 2008 on STS-124, and logged more than 13 days in space. Dr. Nyberg is currently serving as a flight engineer aboard the station for Expediton 36.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-124 Discovery (May 31 to June 14, 2008) was the 123rd space shuttle flight, and the 26th shuttle flight to the International Space Station. STS-124 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and docked with the space station on June 2 to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System. STS-124 shuttle astronauts delivered the 37-foot (11-meter) Kibo lab, added its rooftop storage room and conducted three spacewalks to maintain the station and to prime the new Japanese module's robotic arm for work during nine days docked at the orbiting laboratory. STS-124 also delivered a new station crew member, Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff. He replaced Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Garrett Riesman, who returned to Earth with the STS-124 crew. The STS-124 mission was completed in 218 orbits, traveling 5,735.643 miles in 13 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 7 seconds.
Expedition 35/36 to the International Space Station - On May 28, 2013, Dr. Nyberg launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station along with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano. They are only the second crew ever to dock to the space station the same day they left Earth. They were welcomed aboard by Expedition 35 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy
Science Correspondent, PBS NewsHour and former Chief Technology and Environment Correspondent, CNN
Miles O’Brien is veteran, independent journalist who focuses on science, technology and aerospace. He is the science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, a producer and director for the PBS science documentary series NOVA, and a correspondent for the PBS documentary series FRONTLINE and the National Science Foundation Science Nation series. For nearly seventeen of his thirty years in the news business, he worked for CNN as the science, environment and aerospace space correspondent and the anchor of various programs, including American Morning.
While at CNN, he secured a deal with NASA to become the first journalist to fly on the space shuttle. The project ended with the loss of Columbia and her crew in 2003 –a story he told to the world in a critically acclaimed sixteen-hour marathon of live coverage. Prior to joining CNN, he worked as a reporter at television stations in Boston, Tampa, Albany,NY and St. Joseph, MO. He began his television career as a desk assistant at WRC-TV in Washington, DC. O’Brien is an accomplished aviator and aircraft owner who often pilots his Airplane to assignments, and is frequently called upon to explain the world of aviation to a mass audience.He has won numerous awards over the years, including a half-dozen Emmys, and a Peabody and DuPont for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Born and raised in Detroit, he is based in Washington, DC. He has a son at the US Naval Academy and a daughter at Davidson College in North Carolina. He was a history major at Georgetown University.
STS-27, STS-41, STS-52, EXP-1 and STS-102
PERSONAL DATA: Born July 26, 1949, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, but considers Babylon, New York his hometown. Married to Beth Stringham of Houston, Texas. He enjoys sailing, swimming, and working in his garage. His mother, Mrs. Barbara Shepherd, resides in Bethesda, Maryland. His father, Mr. George R. Shepherd, is deceased.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Arcadia High School, Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1967; received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971, and the degrees of ocean engineer and master of science in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978.
ORGANIZATIONS: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
SPECIAL HONORS: Recipient of NASA’s "Steve Thorne" Aviation Award.
EXPERIENCE: Shepherd was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971, and has served with the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN, SEAL Teams ONE and TWO, and Special Boat Unit TWENTY.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in May 1984. A veteran of four space flights, Shepherd has logged over 159 days in space. Most recently, he was the Commander of the Expedition-1 crew on the International Space Station (October 31, 2000 to March 21, 2001). Earlier he made three flights as a mission specialist on STS-27 (December 2-6, 1988), STS-41 (October 6-10, 1990) and STS-52 (October 22 to November 1, 1992). From March 1993 to January 1996, Shepherd was assigned to the Space Station Program and served in various management positions.
Shepherd left NASA in January of 2002 to pursue private interests.
President and COO, SpaceX
As President and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell is responsible for day-to-day operations and for managing all customer and strategic relations to support company growth. She joined SpaceX in 2002 as Vice President of Business Development and built the Falcon vehicle family manifest to nearly 50 launches, representing nearly $5 billion in revenue. Shotwell is a member of the SpaceX Board of Directors.
Prior to joining SpaceX, Shotwell spent more than 10 years at the Aerospace Corporation. There she held positions in Space Systems Engineering & Technology as well as Project Management. She was promoted to the role of Chief Engineer of an MLV-class satellite program, managed a landmark study for the Federal Aviation Administration on commercial space transportation, and completed an extensive analysis of space policy for NASA's future investment in space transportation. Shotwell was subsequently recruited to be Director of Microcosm's Space Systems Division, where she served on the executive committee and directed corporate business development. Shotwell also served as a Chair of the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) Space Systems Technical Committee, and in 2013, was elected to AIAA's honorable grade of Fellow.
Shotwell participates in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-related programs, including the Frank J. Redd Student Scholarship Competition. Under her leadership the committee raised more than $350,000 in scholarships in six years. Shotwell was named winner of the 2011 World Technology Award for Individual Achievement in Space, and in June 2012 she was inducted into the Women In Technology International Hall of Fame. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Space Security.
Shotwell received, with honors, her bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, and currently serves on the Advisory Council for Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering. She has authored dozens of papers on a variety of subjects including standardizing spacecraft/payload interfaces, conceptual small spacecraft design, infrared signature target modeling, space shuttle integration, and reentry vehicle operational risks.
Corporate Vice President, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems
Mr. Sirangelo is the head of Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, a producer of satellites, space transportation vehicles, propulsion systems and space subsystems. SNC Space Systems over its 25 years of business has been engaged on over 400 space missions and has produced over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components for a wide variety of earth orbit and planetary missions. SNC is also the owner and prime developer of the Dream Chaser, a LEO orbital space vehicle transportation system currently being funded in partnership with NASA as a replacement for the Space Shuttle.
Mr. Sirangelo was formerly the Chairman & CEO of SpaceDev, Inc., prior to its merging with SNC and has spent his career leading aeronautics, space and technology companies. Mr. Sirangelo’s industry board memberships include being the Chairman Emeritus of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the founding and current Chairman of eSpace, The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a Trustee for the Aeronautics Industries Association and a member of the board of the University of Colorado Engineering School. His charity boards include being a board member and trustee of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and a founder, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the International Centre for Children.
Corporate and personal awards include NASA/Space Foundation’s Technology Hall of Fame, the Defense Industry’s Fast Track 50, Deloitte’s Fast Track 500, a finalist in Ernst &Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and Inc. Magazine’s top 200 companies. Mr. Sirangelo is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow, and holds Doctorate, MBA and Bachelor of Science degrees. He has also been scientifically published, served as an officer in the US Military and is a licensed pilot.
STS-116, EXP-14/15, STS-117and EXP-32/33
PERSONAL DATA: Born September 19, 1965 in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts to be her hometown. Married to Michael J. Williams. Although they have no children, a crazy Jack Russell Terrier named Gorby has added his share of excitement to their lives, as has a Labrador Retriever named Bailey. Recreational interests include running, swimming, biking, triathlons, windsurfing, snowboarding and bow hunting. Her parents, Dr. Deepak and Mrs. Bonnie Pandya, reside in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Needham High School, Needham, Massachusetts, 1983.
B.S., Physical Science, U.S. Naval Academy, 1987.
M.S., Engineering Management, Florida Institute of Technology, 1995.
ORGANIZATIONS: Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Society of Flight Test Engineers, American Helicopter Association.
SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded Navy Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and various other service awards.
EXPERIENCE: Williams received her commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy from the United States Naval Academy in May 1987. After a six-month temporary assignment at the Naval Coastal System Command, she received her designation as a Basic Diving Officer and then reported to Naval Aviation Training Command. She was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1989. She then reported to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 for initial H46, Seaknight, training. Upon completion of this training, she was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 in Norfolk, Virginia, and made overseas deployments to the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf in support of Desert Shield and Operation Provide Comfort. In September 1992, she was the Officer-in-Charge of an H-46 detachment sent to Miami, Florida for Hurricane Andrew Relief Operations onboard USS Sylvania. Williams was selected for United States Naval Test Pilot School and began the course in January 1993. After graduation in December 1993, she was assigned to the Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Directorate as an H-46 Project Officer, and V-22 Chase Pilot in the T-2. While there, she was also assigned as the squadron Safety Officer and flew test flights in the SH-60B/F, UH-1, AH-1W, SH-2, VH-3, H-46, CH-53 and the H-57. In December 1995, she went back to the Naval Test Pilot School as an Instructor in the Rotary Wing Department and the school’s Safety Officer where she flew the UH-60, OH-6 and the OH-58. From there, she was assigned to the USS Saipan (LHA-2), Norfolk, Virginia, as the Aircraft Handler and the Assistant Air Boss. Williams was deployed onboard USS Saipan when she was selected for the astronaut program.
She has logged more than 3000 flight hours in over 30 different aircraft.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, she reported for training in August 1998. Astronaut Candidate Training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Following a period of training and evaluation, Williams worked in Moscow with the Russian Space Agency on the Russian contribution to the space station and with the first Expedition Crew. Following the return of Expedition 1, Williams worked within the Robotics branch on the station’s Robotic Arm and the follow-on Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. As a NEEMO2 crewmember, she lived underwater in the Aquarius habitat for 9 days. After her first flight, she served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She then supported a long duration mission as Flight Engineer for Expedition 32 and International Space Station Commander for Expedition 33. Williams has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions; she ranks sixth on the all-time U.S. endurance list and second all-time for a female. With 50 hours 40 minutes, she also holds the record total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Expedition 14/15 (December 9, 2006 to June 22, 2007). Williams launched with the crew of STS-116 on December 9, 2006, docking with the International Space Station on December 11, 2006. As a member of the Expedition 14 crew, Williams served as Flight Engineer. While onboard, she established a world record for females with four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes of Extravehicular Activity (EVA). (Astronaut Peggy Whitson subsequently broke the record in 2008 with a total of five spacewalks). Williams concluded her tour of duty as a member of the Expedition 15 crew returning to Earth with the STS-117 crew to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California on June 22, 2007.
Expedition 32/33 (July 14 to November 18, 2012). Williams launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, along with Russian Soyuz commander Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, on July 14, 2012. They were welcomed on the International Space Station by NASA Flight Engineer Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts, Expedition 32 commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin on July 17, 2012. Williams spent four months conducting research and exploration aboard the orbiting laboratory. She landed in Kazakhstan on November 18, 2012, after spending 127 days in space. During their Expedition, Williams and Hoshide performed three spacewalks to replace a component that relays power from the space station's solar arrays to its systems, and repair an ammonia leak on a station radiator. With 50 hours and 40 minutes, Williams once again holds the record for total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut. In addition, Williams, who has spent a total of 322 days in space on two missions, now ranks sixth on the all-time U.S. endurance list, and second all-time for a female.