Friday, September 6, 2013

NewSpace All-Stars

Click the arrow to watch the Commercial Space Federation meeting on UStream. The webcast begins after you select (and then skip) an ad.

An all-astronaut panel was the main attraction at a September 4 meeting in Houston of the Commercial Space Federation. The presentation was part of a three-day long meeting of commercial space industry leaders in the Houston area.

Present were:

  • Michael Lopez-Alegria, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
  • Chris Ferguson, Director of Crew and Mission Operations, Boeing Space Exploration
  • Jim Voss, Advisor and former VP of Space Exploration, Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • Garrett Reisman, Commercial Crew Program Lead, Space Exploration Technologies
  • Jeff Ashby, Chief of Mission Assurance, Blue Origin
  • Rick Searfoss, Director of Flight Test Operations and Chief Test Pilot, XCOR Aerospace

Mario Diaz, the Director of Aviation for the City of Houston, opened the panel discussing a proposal to open a commercial spaceport at Houston's Ellington Airport. The spaceport was the subject of a September 4 Houston Chronicle article. The article didn't mention the presentations by the NewSpace astronauts, but did resurrect slights perceived by Houstonians:

But Houston's status as home to the nation's space program has taken a hit in recent years as the space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011 and NASA decided to hire out space station supply runs to private industry. The local space industry has also suffered job losses in recent years and residents felt snubbed when NASA didn't award the city one of the four retired space shuttles.

The Space Coast could make a legitimate argument that it's “home to the nation's space program,” but I'll leave that to those more obsessed with such parochial squabbling than getting on with the next generation of human spaceflight — which was ignored in the article.

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