News

Realizing Yesterday's Vision, Tomorrow's Reality
03.04.09
 
"Sustainable Space Exploration" is the theme for the 47th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium, to be held March 10 through 12, 2009, at the Greenbelt Marriott Hotel. The American Astronautical Society (AAS) sponsors this annual event in honor of the "Father of Modern Rocketry."

Frank Slater, president of American Astronautical Society provides opening remarks for 2008 symposium.> Click for larger image
Frank Slater, president of American Astronautical Society provides opening remarks for 2008 symposium. Credit: NASA
Senior leaders from around the world with a focus on space exploration have for years attended the Goddard symposium. “There is no better opportunity to hear directly from leaders of NASA, the aerospace industry, academia, science and politics,” says Harley Thronson, first year committee chairperson. “It is always interesting to learn from the nation’s leaders what they believe NASA’s future priorities and challenges are likely to be.”

The invited guest list includes the Science Advisor to the President; Christopher Scolese, NASA Administrator (Acting), Dr. Laurie Leshin, Goddard Deputy Director for Science and Technology; and Dr. James Garvin, Goddard Sciences and Exploration Directorate chief scientist. NASA Center Directors have been invited to several panel discussions about sustainability of scientific and human exploration. New features this year include a panel discussion about education strategies and resources in support of NASA’s pipeline initiative. The 2009 program can be viewed at www.astronautical.org.

Each year, committee members brainstorm for months to construct an informing and engaging program. “Our goal is to bringing together leaders in government, industry, academia, and entrepreneurs to consider the history and current state of space exploration and commercialization,” says James Kirkpatrick, Executive Director, AAS. “It is also an excellent opportunity to gain a better understanding about what is evolving within the aerospace industry.”

Dr. Frank Cepollina, Manager, Hubble Space Telescope Development Project answers question during 2008 symposium.> Click for larger image
Dr. Frank Cepollina, Manager, Hubble Space Telescope Development Project answers question during 2008 symposium. Credit: NASA
On the evening of March 11, a reception hosted by Earth scientists and Goddard alumni will pay tribute to Goddard’s 50 years of space exploration. All receptions and two-day symposium are open to the Goddard civil servant community however; there is a charge to attend the luncheons. The Goddard symposium has been classified by NASA as a “widely attended gathering” and not a conference. Goddard participation is highly encouraged and you do not need to register, just bring your badge and sign in.

The first Goddard symposium was held 1961 in conjunction with the National Space Club’s Annual Goddard Dinner. The theme that year was “Interaction of Space Vehicles with an Ionized Atmosphere.” That first meeting was enthusiastically supported by Mrs. Robert Goddard.

The Goddard symposium became an annual event with themes gradually evolving from strictly technical to more general topics of interest to the civil space community. The Goddard community officially began supporting the symposium in 1997 with prepaid registration for Center personnel to attend.

The Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium is dedicated to encouraging the expansion of our knowledge of the Earth, our solar system, and the universe through observations from space. To ensure our nation maintains leadership in this endeavor, Goddard is committed to excellence in scientific research and investigation, the development of space systems, and the advancement of essential technologies. The Goddard symposium provides an environment to dream of yesterday, realizing it is the hope today, and the reality of tomorrow, an environment Dr. Robert Goddard could truly treasure.