AIAA Presents Third Annual California Aerospace Week
By Steve Howell, AIAA Public Policy Manager
This year’s California Aerospace Week event, Launch California: Leading the Nation into Space, took place in Sacramento 24-26 March. The event began with recognition in the State Assembly, and with a resolution deeming the March California Aerospace Month in the California State Senate, sponsored by California State Senator Steve Knight, highlighting the importance of the aerospace industry to California and praising the industry’s innovative and world-changing technology. (Image: California State Capital Building, Sacramento, CA. Click image for larger version.)
On Tuesday, 25 March, three panels addressed a Joint Hearing of the California Senate Select Committee on Aerospace and Defense and the California Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace about role California plays in our national space exploration programs and the importance of space research and manufacturing to California. AIAA Executive Director Dr. Sandy Magnus led off on the first panel, providing an overview of the history of California Aerospace, and discussing industry and research policy needs to enable California to maintain its role in providing leadership in our space exploration programs. Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, discussed the impacts new policies aimed at growing the manufacturing base within the state has had on the aerospace-related economy. The second panel focused on Civil Space programs in California, and featured: Ms. Blake Bullock, Director of Civil Air and Space Business and Advanced Systems Development at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Dr. Simon “Pete” Worden, Center Director at NASA’s Ames Research Systems, and Dr. Michael Hawes, Director of Human Spaceflight Programs- Washington Operations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. The final panel focused on Commercial Space programs, and featured Mr. George Whitesides, Chief Executive Officer from Virgin Galactic along with students Chad Taylor and Jeff Weaver of California State University and Polytechnic University- San Lois Obispo. The students wrapped up the hearing and spoke about the cubesats program they participate in at the university, and the unique hands-on research opportunities and educational reach this program provides.
Later in the day, a roundtable session was held, allowing aerospace leaders to directly speak with both the California Senate Select Committee on Aerospace and Defense and the Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace on a variety of matters pertaining to a continued aerospace presence in California.
Also on Tuesday, AIAA provided an exhibits area on the West Lawn of the Capitol grounds that allowed NASA and aerospace companies with an opportunity to hightlight some of the research and manufacturing programs taking place in California. Boeing provided their F-18 Growler Simulator system where elected officials, visitors and local Sacramento school students could experience some of the capabilities of this system which is manufactured in part in California. The event concluded with a reception in the Governor’s Council Room in the State Capitol. The reception was well attended, and provided member with the opportunity to continue the week’s discussions with the several state senators and assemblymembers and with the staff including those on the Governor’s Capitol staff in attendance. (Image: Kish Rajan, Director, Gov's Office of Business and Economic Development, testifies at Joint Hearing. Click image for larger version.)
California State Aerospace Week was sponsored by AIAA, NASA, The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin Corporation.