Jim Muncy is the first speaker, to open the conference; he is be introducing first Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames, who will introduce Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator.
Critical time for the opening of space from the home planet. Every generation thinks of itself as a critical time, but there are times when humanity is going down a slow-moving river and times it is riding rapids. Things are more critical and challenging right now, not because of any particular things that it going on, but the totality. Debate over what kind of program is part of it, first Dragon flight is part of it, work going on Mojave and Mesquite, Texas and Colorado party of it. Have friends inside and outside of NASA as committed to this frontier revolution as we are, including Pete Worden, who has been associated with more successful technology programs than anyone he knows.
Worden: Agrees with Jim that it is perhaps the most exciting time to be involved with the space program. Has great confidence in our society and thinks that the goals that SFF has been pushing are being adopted. On the verge of humanity’s permanent expansion into the solar system and beyond. Will only happen once in history, and this country is leading it, with the help of technologies being developed by NASA, but it will only happen if the private sector is involved. Sees that happening, and proud to be helping make it happen. Noting that Ames was part of the NACA, and wants to see NASA carry on in that tradition. Introducing Lori Garver, as long-standing friend and colleague, and now his boss and leading in many of these areas.
Lori notes that the notion that she is Pete’s boss is comical — Pete has never had a boss. When she and Pete met at National Space Society the goal was to create a space-faring civilization. NASA only has a subrole in that, but we are all involved in doing it. Proud that we have a space station that has been permanently occupied for over a decade, and that’s the beginning of a space-faring civilization. NASA’s role in expanding beyond is important, but not as important as what everyone else here is doing.
Telling the story of being in a cab with Rick Tumlinson on the Hill, when he told her that NSS was too beholden to NASA and the industry, and that he was going to start a new organization (twenty years ago), and the organization has come a long way since. Throwing away her speech that they wrote for her because she is with family. What they asked her to talk about was what was happening inside the agency about commercial space, but is instead going to give a policy sense of how that fits in to the new direction. Wants to return to the NACA role, in which NASA doesn’t compete with the private sector, but helps create and open new markets. But their job is also to expand farther, to reach for new heights and learn new things to benefit humankind. Includes aeronautics, space science and earth science. In her view, humankind has to expand and settle to survive.
NASA wants to nurture suborbital, and worked hard to get CRuSR program going to help reduce the costs of getting to and from suborbital space, as a stepping stone to reducing costs to orbit. If fewer tax dollars can be used on launch, more resources available for payloads.
Orbital space flight is a key market for NASA, to help bring down those costs. NASA is doing their own research on station, but need to open it up to others, and NASA not necessarily the best to recognize what’s most valuable.
85% of NASA’s dollars have always gone to the private sector — only difference is how they want to spend it, to encourage more private investment and innovation. Not just commercial crew. Sabotier is how they get water on ISS, and they negotiated a contract that was based on how much water they get. Now anchor tenant for cargo and crew on ISS, which will reduce costs both for the taxpayer and for non-government users.
Telling story of when she was a consultant to Fisk Ventures, interested in working on microgravity research on ISS. Invested millions of his own money, and worked with NASA for over two years to get a cooperative IR&D agreement. By the time he actually flew, the experiment was on Columbia… Will want to call him again when they can get the time down from two years to two weeks.
Noting that the new direction is not political, that it’s ridiculous to think that Obama did this to help himself next year. Would have been politically easier to maintain the status quo, even though it was headed over a cliff.
Has bipartisan support for new direction with NASA authorization bill. NASA’s job isn’t settlement, but NASA will be able to help much more as we do it.
Thrilled to be at Vesta now. Why an asteroid as the next human destination? To go to Mars, need to develop long-duration technologies, more affordable than another lunar mission. Not about setting goals and dates that cannot be met. But can we go in 2025? Just got a briefing from a company yesterday that said 2019.
Grew up wanting to leave the planet, and has attempted it on her own, but that’s not why she does it. Glad to be part of the march of civilization, and as Pete said, to be here at this unique time. ISS is good, but not enough, but we will go further. It is a challenging time. We don’t get to pick out times. What’s it like to be at NASA now? It’s a tough time to leave such an amazing program as the Shuttle and set our sights on the farther horizon. Can’t pick your time any more than you can choose when your kids will be teenagers. You have helped get us to this point, and thanking for all the work to date.
Muncy: How can we help?
Placing what we’re doing in the larger picture is important. Get into debates about what the rocket will look like, but the important thing is how to do this without wiping out the budget. Yes, people lose their jobs during change, but we need to show that we’ll create new jobs, not on the back of the American taxpayer. New course in space is to be successful not just for time being or next five years, but longer term.
Muncy, as she leaves the stage: “In case you don’t know, Lori is a true revolutionary.”
[Update a few minutes later]
Too busy to take notes now, but the conference is actually being streamed at SpaceVidCast.