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Our Meeting Summaries

Beyond the Flare--SWF/AAS Briefing on Space Weather, November 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 23-Nov-2014 (Updated: 11-Feb-2015 07:39 PM)

On November 20, 2014, the Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the American Astronautical Society (AAS) sponsored a seminar on Capitol Hill to explain what space weather is and why it is important to be able to forecast extreme space weather events.   Speakers from NASA, NOAA, the Air Force, the State Department and a regional transmission organization (RTO) in the electric utility industry explained the science behind space weather, forecasting efforts by the NOAA and the Air Force, practical effects on the electric power grid, and international efforts to better understand and mitigate it.

The seminar was entitled "Beyond the Flare:  An AAS/SWF Briefing on Space Weather." published a summary of the event on November 23, 2014.

Speakers at the event were:

  • Ms. Laura Delgado López, SWF project manager and AAS Board member (moderator)
  • Dr. Madhulika ("Lika") Guhathakurta, Living with a Star & STEREO Program Scientist, NASA Heliophysics Division
  • Dr. Thomas Berger, Director, Space Weather Prediction Center, NOAA/National Weather Service
  • Mr. Frank Koza, Executive Director, Infrastructure Planning, PJM Interconnection, LLC
  • Col. Robert Swanson, Chief, Weather Strategic Plans and Interagency Integration Division, Directorate of Weather, HQ U.S. Air Force
  • Dr. Chris Cannizzaro, Physical Science Officer, Office of Space & Advanced Technology, Department of State

ULA's Tory Bruno Vows To Transform Company, November 2014

Laura M. Delgado
Posted: 14-Nov-2014 (Updated: 14-Nov-2014 01:38 AM)
On November 13, 2014, Tory Bruno, President of the United Launch Alliance (ULA), spoke to the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. about his views on the future of the launch services industry and transforming ULA so it remains the leading U.S. launch services provider.   Part of that strategy is replacing Russia's RD-180 engine, used for ULA's Atlas V rocket, with an "American solution,"  Blue Origin's BE-4 engine. published a summary of Bruno's remarks on November 14, 2014.

Elon Musk Interviewed at MIT Centennial Celebration, October 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 24-Oct-2014 (Updated: 24-Oct-2014 11:18 PM)
SpaceX Founder and Chief Designer Elon Musk was interviewed on stage by the head of MIT's department of aeronautics and astronautics, Jaime Perarie, during an October 2014 centennial celebration of the establishment of the aero/astro department.   Musk's comments ranged from deeply technical to philosophical on rockets, Mars exploration, Tesla cars and hyperloops. published a summary of the space-related portions of the session on October 24, 2014.

NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group Debates Asteroid Redirect Mission, July 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 01-Aug-2014 (Updated: 01-Aug-2014 06:13 PM)
NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) met July 29-31, 2014 in Washington, DC.   It received a number of briefings from NASA officials on the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and other aspects of the "Evolvable Mars Campaign."   A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to debate about ARM, particularly a presentation by MIT's Richard Binzel, a planetary scientist who was sharply critical of the mission. summarized the SBAG meeting in an article published on August 1 entitled "Asteroid Expert Richard Binzel:  ARM is "Emperor With No Clothes."   (Planetary scientists use the term "small bodies" to refer to asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, small satellitles, and Trans-Neptunian objects.)

NASA Advisory Council Adopts Recommendations on Human Spaceflight Program, July 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 31-Jul-2014 (Updated: 31-Jul-2014 10:46 PM)

The full NASA Advisory Council (NAC) met July 30-31, 2014 at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.  Over the course of the two-day meeting, the NAC adopted three recommendations and one finding about NASA's human spaceflight program after long and lively debate. published two articles summarizing the meeting:

NASA Advisory Council's Human Exploration and Operations Committee, July 2014

Len Ly
Posted: 29-Jul-2014 (Updated: 29-Jul-2014 04:40 PM)
The Human Exploration and Operations committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) met on July 28-29, 2014 at NASA's Langley Research Center.   During the afternoon of July 28, NASA deputy space station program manager Dan Hartman discussed the status of the International Space Station (ISS) and plans for the future. published a summary of Hartman's comments on July 29, entitled "Hartman: U.S. and Russian Crews to Fly Both Soyuz and U.S. Commercial Vehicles."

National Security Space Launch and the Industrial Base: Issues and Opportunities. July 2014

Laura M. Delgado
Posted: 29-Jul-2014 (Updated: 29-Jul-2014 04:35 PM)
The George C. Marshall Institute held a panel discussion on July 23, 2014 on "National Security Space Launch and the Industrial Base: Issues and Opportunities."   Panelists were Josh Hartman, CEO of Horizon Strategies Group, and Scott Pace of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute.  Hartman was a member of the "Mitchell Panel" headed by Maj. Gen. Howard "Mitch" Mitchell (Ret) that reviewed alternatives to Russia's RD-180 rocket engines. published a summary of the meeting on July 24, 2014 entitled "RD-180 Decision Will Not Be Made by Space Community Says Member of Mitchell Panel."

Hidden Benefits of NRO Spy Technology, July 2014

Laura M. Delgado
Posted: 29-Jul-2014 (Updated: 29-Jul-2014 04:27 PM)
On July 11, 2014, the Space Foundation held a panel discussion highlighting the benefits derived by society from intelligence-gathering technology developed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  NRO designs, builds and operates the nation's spy satellites. published a summary of the discussion on July 12, 2014.  Panelists at the event were Dr. Robert McDonald and Dr. James Outzen from the Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance.

Satellites and Maritime Domain Awareness, June 2014

Marcia S. Smith and Len Ly
Posted: 19-Jun-2014 (Updated: 19-Jun-2014 03:12 PM)

The Secure World Foundation held a seminar on "Monitoring the High Seas:  The Increasing Role of Space In Maritime Domain Awareness" on June 16, 2014.  Five experts on MDA discussed the role that satellites play in the multi-layered approach to providing MDA, including optical and imaging satellites as well as Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) based on the International Maritime Organization's Automatic Identification System (AIS). published a summary of the meeting on June 19, 2014.   The speakers were:

  • Guy Thomas, co-founder, C-SIGMA Centre
  • John Mittleman, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Maj. Charity Weeden, Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Jon Huggins, Oceans Beyond Piracy project of the One Earth Future Foundation
  • Bharath Gopalaswamy, South Asia Center, the Atlantic Council

Rep. Frank Wolf Speaks to Space Policy Institute on Future of NASA, April 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 29-Apr-2014 (Updated: 17-Aug-2014 07:01 PM)
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who chairs the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee that funds NASA, spoke to George Washington University's Space Policy Institute on April 28, 2014.   One focus of his remarks was his belief that the next step in the U.S. human spaceflight program should be a return to the Moon, not a mission to an asteroid as proposed by President Obama.   He also stressed his objections to any space cooperation between the United States and China because of China's human rights violations. summarized his remarks in an article published that day.