NewSpace 2012: NASA Leadership Roundtable

NewSpace 2012 Conference
NASA Leadership Roundtable

  • Rebecca Keiser (Moderator) — Associate Deputy Administrator for Strategy and Policy, NASA
  • Robert Cabana — Director, NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Ramon Lugo — Director, NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Ellen Ochoa — Deputy Director, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Pete Worden — Director, NASA Ames Research Center

Bob Cabana (KSC)

  • Have a lot of excess capacity at KSC
  • Boeing deal for one of shuttle processing facilities for CST-100
  • Company using and maintaining tooling
  • trying to make it a 21st century spaceport
  • Wants KSC to have NASA and commercial missions and suborbital flights out of the shuttle landing facility
  • 21st century spaceport upgrades are beneficial to NASA and to commercial partners
  • NASA in negotiations with Stratolaunch to fly out of KSC
  • Centers are learning how to use Space Act Agreements better and are learning from each other
  • Need to take it to the next step – not just about a few people going to space on a big govt. program but more people
  • commercial suborbital similar to biplane rides in 20’s
  • early aviation only for the very rich at the beginning
  • in  the last part of the curve before it goes exponential
  • form partnerships in which there is clear communication and not in an adversarial but partnership – we’re all in it together

Pete Worden (Ames)

  • Ames working on quantum computers – want to have one of the first quantum computers
  • Ames partners on synthetic biology with J. Craig Venter – crucial to being able to live in space
  • if you want to go to space, talk to JSC and KSC – to get back, talk to Ames
  • Ames and the other field centers do research work and develop crucial technologies
  • Ames provides a location for people to do work – plane – fuel cell – turned into multi- billion business
  • The technology of this century is biotech
  • Gene expression is fundamentally different in space – will tell us a lot about how life works and how to make new products
  • Will be a major breath through area – space biology, specifically fundamental development
  • NASA needs to succeed in mid-wiving new commercial space industry
  • NASA can’t afford to do the things it wants to do – moon, Mars, etc. – without building up a more competitive commercial sector

Ramon Lugo (NASA Glenn)

  • 2 year process in which center looked at how to do commercial space better
  • used to think business development was easy — learned otherwise
  • about 16 projects ongoing
  • aerospace is a key areas where we have a positive balance of trade
  • need to get technology out there to help transform the way we live
  • bring in the staff attorneys on Space Act Agreements at very early in the process – a lot of deals run into trouble if they are brought in late

Ellen Ochoa (NASA JSC)

  • Momentum has started to grow
  • Enormous amount of progress just in the last few months

Q. What has been the biggest obstacle to these commercial efforts?

Pete Worden: 

  • “Headquarters. Congress. The White House.”
  •  A lot of bureaucracy, a lot of laws and some good reasons for it
  • Space Act Agreement is an incredibly powerful tool
  • Space Act Agreement: If it’s not prohibited by law, you can do it
  • Space Act Agreement: Given holes you can drive a lot of trucks through
  • Now a set of rules at HQ called the Worden Rules – more oversight of SAAs
  • “Ames in particular, We’re in Silicon Valley and Silicon Valley is in us.”
  • Go from “no, because…” to “yes, if….”