NRC Names Members of Panel To Support Human Spaceflight Study

NRC Names Members of Panel To Support Human Spaceflight Study

As the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Committee on Human Spaceflight prepares to begin its deliberations on December 19, the NRC has announced the members of one of the two panels that will support the committee in its work.

Two panels are planned — one with technical expertise in space exploration and another with expertise in polling. As part of the study, a national poll will be conducted to assess the nation’s attitude toward human spaceflight activities.

The NRC named the members of the parent committee last month.  Co-chaired by former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and Cornell space scientist Jonathan Lunine, it is an unusual blend of experts in polling, space science, national security space, communications, history and economics. Only one, former astronaut Bryan O’Connor, has a background specifically in human spaceflight.

The just-named panel on Technical Feasibility offers another interesting set of expertise.   John Sommerer, head of the space sector at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), part of Johns Hopkins University, will chair the panel and is also a member of the parent committee.   The panel’s vice chair is Doug Cooke who had a long career at NASA before retiring as Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in October 2011.  He was closely involved in developing the Constellation program when Mike Griffin was NASA Administrator and then in reshaping the human spaceflight program after President Obama decided to terminate it.  He is now consultant.

The other panel members are —

  • Douglas Allen, independent consultant (expert in space power technology, formerly worked for Schafer Corp.)
  • Ray Arvidson, Washington University in St. Louis (planetary scientist)
  • Richard Atkinson, University of California, San Diego (retired) (expert in cognitive science and psychology)
  • Bobby Braun, Georgia Tech (former NASA Chief Technologist)
  • Betsy Cantwell, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (she co-chaired the recent NRC Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space)
  • David “Ed” Crow, University of Connecticut (retired) (former Pratt & Whitney)
  • Ravi Deo, EMBR (aerospace engineer, former Northrop Grumman)
  • Maj. Gen. Bob Dickman, USAF (retired) (also former Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics)
  • Joe Hamaker, the Millennium Group International (former director of NASA’s Cost Analysis Division)
  • Dava Newman, MIT (an aerospace biomedical engineer with particular expertise in spacesuit design)
  • John “Row” Rogacki, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (formerly head of NASA’s Space Launch Initiative)
  • Guillermo Trotti, Trotti and Associates (an expert in sustainable architecture and design for extreme environments who was a co-founder of Space Industries Inc., a company that in the 1980s tried to get support to build a privately funded space station)

More information on each of the panel members is posted on the NRC website.   Note that Bobby Braun’s name is not on the main list, but he is included in the biographies section.

The parent committee’s first public meeting on Wednesday will be at the National Academy of Sciences building at 21st and Constitution Avenues (not at the Keck Building on 5th Street).  Part of the meeting is closed, but the public may attend beginning at 10:15 am ET.  Seating is limited, however, and prior online registration is highly recommended.

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