Aerospace industry leaders to debate America's next steps in space

October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009 - Reston, Va. - Aerospace industry leaders will meet on November 2 to debate the future of America's space programs in light of the recent findings by the Augustine Commission.

The half-day event, "Does the Final Frontier Have a Future? Debating America's Next Steps in Human Space Flight," will feature panelists from leading space exploration companies as well as from NASA and academia. Organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the discussion is free and open to the public, and takes place on Monday, November 2, at 1:00 p.m. in Room 106, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Constitution Ave. and 1st St. NE, Washington, D.C.

AIAA President Dave Thompson stated: "With the release of the Augustine Commission report it is clear that America faces several obstacles in its quest to remain at the forefront of space exploration and development efforts. Events such as these are crucial toward sparking the types of conversations that allow us to begin laying a substantive framework for future exploration and development efforts that can surmount the obstacles that the Commission has identified."

Attendees will hear from two panels. The first panel, "Access to Low Earth Orbit and International Space Station Servicing," will be moderated by aerospace consultant Patti Grace Smith, former FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation. Featured panelists will include Scott "Doc" Horowitz, former NASA astronaut and president and CEO of Doc's Aerospace; Ken Reightler, former NASA astronaut and vice president, NASA program integration, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Mike Kahn, executive vice president, ATK space systems; Mike Gold, director of the Washington, D.C. office of Bigelow Aerospace; and Larry Williams, vice president, strategic relations, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). The afternoon's second panel, "Heavy Lift and Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit," will be moderated by Roger D. Launius, senior curator for the division of space history at the Smithsonian Institute's National Air and Space Museum, and will feature Stephen Metschan, co-founder of the DIRECT shuttle derived heavy-lift vehicle team; Douglas Stanley, principal research engineer, Georgia Institute of Technology; and a representative from NASA's Constellation program office. Edward Crawley, Ford Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also been invited to participate.
Admission is free and open to the public and media, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Duane Hyland at 703.264.7558 or Please indicate any media affiliation for reserved seating.

AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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