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    Headlines - Today at SciTech

    Headlines from AIAA SciTech 2014



    What Did You Miss?


    More than 3,000 individuals from more than 1,600 institutions in 44 countries participated in the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (AIAA SciTech 2014) -- the largest event for aerospace research, development, and technology in the world. Keynote speakers Congressman Chaka Fattah, Richard F. Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed's Space Systems Company, Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, and C. D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering addressed the effects of future government R&D funding, the increasing cost and complexity of design, and the challenges of maintaining an educated workforce in a rapidly-changing, technology environment. Discover what you missed in 2014 and mark your calendar for AIAA SciTech 2015, 5–9 January 2015 in Kissimmee, Florida.

    Thursday, 16 January 2014

    X-56 Could Bring Breakthrough to Whole Industry

    By Dave Majumdar, posted at 5:25 p.m. EST


    The Lockheed Martin X-56 multi-utility technology test-bed is expected to make its first flight with flexible wings early this year as the Air Force Research Laboratory-funded project works on demonstrating flutter suppression technology. “We hope to be flying here in the next couple of weeks,” said Peter Flick, the AFRL’s program manager for the X-56A demonstration effort, at AIAA’s SciTech 2014 conference.

    Flutter causes an aircraft to flex rapidly as a result of multiple external physical forces – ultimately destroying the plane if the phenomenon lasts more than a short time.

    Full Story >


    Preparing Workers for the Future

    By Ben Iannotta, posted at 4:40 p.m. EST


    Air transportation, autonomous flight, quantum computing – those are among the areas that could draw problem-solving oriented students and young professionals to the industry in the coming years, members of a workforce development panel said at AIAA’s SciTech Forum.

    “Boeing right now is really in the middle of an unprecedented growth path” fed by such projects as the 777X and the KC-46 military refueling tankers, said Larry Schneider, Boeing’s chief engineer for the 777 program. This will create significant workforce opportunities, he said.

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    For Young Professionals, Mentors (and Fun) Are the Key

    By Duane Hyland, posted at 2:55 p.m EST


    Romig_Hoffman_Stambaugh_Radcliffe_Nicolai_smThe Thursday morning plenary panel highlighted the vital importance of continuing education and professional development to career progress. Moderated the panel was Alton Romig, vice president, engineering and advanced systems, and “chief skunk,” Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Also participating were Ed Hoffman, chief knowledge officer and director of APPEL, the Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership at NASA; Leland Nicolai, emeritus member, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; David Radcliffe, head of engineering education and epistemology, and professor of engineering education, Purdue University; and Kate Stambaugh, space systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University/ Applied Physics Lab.

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    2016 Could Bring Breakthrough for Small Satellites

    By Ben Iannotta, posted at 12:40 p.m. EST


    Deepak_Skrobot_Yost_Cutler_Worden_smSmall satellite advocates are working to convince doubters that their spacecraft, some measuring just centimeters across, are not “toys” and can do important things.

    That was the theme of the small satellite panel at AIAA’s SciTech Forum. Panelists said cubesats are demonstrating communications roles and novel science in low Earth orbit, and they could also do that kind of work as far away as Jupiter’s moon Europa.

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    Talent: Coin of the Realm, But Growing Scarce

    By Duane Hyland, posted at 11:55 a.m. EST


     DanMote_smC. D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering, delivered a keynote address on the difficulties of attracting, developing and retaining talent in the engineering community. He began by recalling Oliver Wendell Holmes’ statement that “The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, but in which direction we are moving.” Mote said, “We need to know where we are going; knowing what direction you are going in provides a lot of guidance - and what recent data tells us is that it isn’t going so well.

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    Wednesday, 15 January 2014

    Elias: Technology Alone Cannot Solve Launch Costs 

    By Ben Iannotta, posted on 16 January at 9:00 a.m.


    Elias_receives_vonKarman_smAntonio Elias of Orbital Sciences Corp. delivered a tough message Wednesday afternoon to the audience at the von Kármán astronautics lecture at AIAA’s SciTech Forum. Elias argued that there is no Moore’s Law for rocketry, much as everyone might like one, and that the only way to significantly reduce launch costs would be to spread costs over more launches.

    Chemical rockets are amazing, he said: “We’re dealing with power densities [similar] to nuclear explosions. On the other hand, the fundamental technology on which we rely is at a dead end,” said Elias, who is Orbital’s chief technical officer.

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    Getting Ready for Disruptive Technologies

    By Ben Iannotta, posted at 10:30 p.m. EST

    Bold predictions flowed at an AIAA SciTech Forum session about disruptive technologies.

    Aerospace engineer Mark Moore of NASA’s Langley Research Center predicted that a 31-foot-long wing in development by engineers from Langley and the industry could prompt big changes in the airline industry. And relatively soon, he said, “within 10 years.”

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    Despite Challenges, Affordability is Achievable

    By Lawrence Garrett, posted at 1:00 p.m. EST


    Bergeron_Gansler_Avila_200Designing for affordability, the subject of Wednesday morning’s panel discussion at AIAA SciTech 2014, presents a number of hurdles for industry and government. These include security challenges that encompass shrinking appropriations; a “financial crisis,” with adverse trends in costs, debt, demographics and research; and an unstable and insecure world environment. In today’s climate, meeting the affordability requirement may necessitate rethinking entire systems, or even proposing new types of systems, new concepts of operation, and new business models.

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    Staying Ahead as China Advances

    By Dave Majumdar, posted at 11:55 a.m. EST


    Frank_Kendall_smThe Pentagon’s top weapons buyer is concerned that cuts to the Defense Department’s research and development budgets will erode the United States’ technological edge over a fast-rising China.

    “I do not want to live in a world in which the U.S. is the second-best power in the world militarily, from the point of view of technology,” said Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, at the AIAA’s SciTech 2014 conference on Jan. 15. “I do not want to live in a world where we’re even at parity – I want us to continue to have an unfair advantage.”

    Full Story >


    Tuesday, 14 January 2014

    Space Cyber Attacks: A Wake-Up Call

    By Dave Majumdar, posted at 7:00 p.m. EST


    A former top security official with NASA predicted that it is only a matter of time before a spacecraft in orbit comes under attack via cyber warfare.

    “I think we’re headed to have some significant cyber event in space, and it’s going to be a bad day for everyone,” said Phil Bounds, the recently retired official. “I do think we need to get rid of this false sense of security.”

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    Space Entrepreneurs Share Memories, Advice

    By Ben Iannotta, posted at 6:15 p.m. EST


    Turning technology into a business isn’t easy. You will need to defy convention. You’ll need to be open to inviting outsiders into to your startup team. You might even discover the government can be your friend.

    Those were among the messages delivered by a panel of representatives of four leading entrepreneurial companies: Aurora Flight Sciences; Ball Aerospace; Made in Space; and Orbital Sciences Corp.

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    How Government Can Spark Innovation

    By Dave Majumdar, posted at 2:45 p.m. EST


    The U.S. government had made a lot of progress in promoting space technology, but industry officials say more must be done to further innovation in the sector – particularly in the national security arena.

    In order to prevent money earmarked for technology development from being diverted to shore up NASA development programs, the Obama administration resurrected the Office of the Chief Technologist at the agency, said Richard DalBello, assistant director for aeronautics and space at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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    Panel Discusses Shaping the Future of Aerospace

    By Duane Hyland and Lawrence Garrett, posted at 1:30 p.m. EST


    Albaugh_Johnson_Hills_Ryschkewitsch_Tracy2_smallTuesday morning’s plenary panel on how AIAA can shape the future of aerospace generated discussion along two tracks – first, what is the future of the industry and how can that future be shaped; and second, what role can AIAA play in that shaping?

    Chairing the panel was Jim Albaugh, executive vice president, The Boeing Company, former president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and president-elect, AIAA.

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    Rising Leaders in Aerospace

    By Stephen Brock, posted at 1:15 p.m. EST


    The Rising Leaders in Aerospace Forum is holding several activities at the 2014 SciTech Forum. On Monday a reception was held to welcome attendees and to provide them an opportunity to meet each other in a casual environment.

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    Seamless Wing Technology Introduced at AIAA SciTech 2014

    By Matt Roush, CBS Detroit, posted at 12:30 p.m. EST

    Full Story > (CBS Detroit)


    Lockheed’s Ambrose Explains Space Affordability

    By Ben Iannotta, posted at 11:15 a.m. EST 


    AmbroseNASA and the Defense Department want satellites and strategies that are more affordable but still resilient to human error, engineering mistakes or attack. Lockheed Martin has heard the message, said Richard F. Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed’s Space Systems Company.

    “It’s clear – very clear – that the government with industry, partnered with industry, we have to change,” Ambrose said in a keynote address today at the AIAA SciTech conference.

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    Monday, 13 January 2014

    Reception Features Student Awards

    By Stephen Brock, posted at 11:00 p.m. EST


    On Monday evening the AIAA Foundation hosted a student reception at the AIAA SciTech Forum. Students, AIAA Board members, members of TAC, faculty, and other attendees gathered to socialize, network, and recognize students who have won awards. Almost 200 were in attendance.

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    “Choose to Steer, Not Drift”

    By Duane Hyland, posted at 4:21 p.m. EST


    Scott_PaceScott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, presented the AIAA Durand Lectureship in Public Policy to a crowded luncheon room today at SciTech 2014. His address, “American Space Strategy: Choose to Steer, Not Drift,” detailed the impending consequences of the nation’s inaction in steering the global space community. Pace analyzed critical failures in that regard, how these will eventually impact the U.S. in a post-American space era, and what the country must do to stop the drift and start steering again.

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    Federal R&D Critical to Aerospace Progress, Says SciTech Panel

    By Duane Hyland, posted at 1:41 p.m. EST


    Federal R&D investments are critical to the advancement of U.S. aerospace technology: This was the dominant theme of today’s plenary panel at AIAA’s SciTech 2014 conference outside Washington, D.C. The panel, moderated by Robert Braun, space technology professor at Georgia Tech, also included Mike Griffin, president, AIAA; Michael Gazarik, associate administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA; and Arati Prabhakar, director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    All agreed on the importance of federal R&D; however, the panelists had their own specific ideas on how to guarantee that this support continues.

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    Engine of U.S. Economy is Science R&D, says Rep. Fattah

    By Dave Majumdar, posted at 11:05 a.m. EST

    ChakaFattahThe United States must continue to invest in scientific research and development work if the nation hopes to maintain its economic prowess, Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., told an audience at AIAA’s SciTech 2014 conference just outside Washington, D.C., on Jan. 13.


    “Investments in science and innovation are at the core of what has positioned our nation up until this moment,” said Fattah, who is the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. “We have to make these investments.”


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