Gebhardt Distinguished Lecture
Gebhardt Distinguished Lecture
Why Do We Want to Have a Space Program?
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
September 6, 2012, 3:30-4:30pm, 442 Guggenheim Building
For more than fifty years, the exploration and development of space by the United States could have been characterized, without much exaggeration, as “all government, all the time”. There were exceptions, notably with regard to the commercial communications satellite industry, but they were just that – exceptions. Despite the entreaties of many who argued for a more balanced policy environment designed to encourage the development of commercial space enterprises, space development remained essentially a government preserve. Now, at least where human spaceflight – always the most visible symbol of the American space program – is concerned, we are confronted with a policy environment that is almost diametrically opposed to this decades-old paradigm, and commercial space enterprises are in vigorous pursuit of defense and intelligence community markets as well. This lecture will explore the ramifications of such policy shifts, together with the rationale for maintaining a robust national space effort, even as much new space activity shifts toward commercial development.
Michael Griffin is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Schafer Corporation, a leading provider of scientific, engineering, and technical services and products applied to defeating national security threats.
Griffin is the former Administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA), serving in that position from 2005 to 2009. In addition to spending ten years at NASA in various capacities, he has also served in a variety of senior government, commercial, and academic roles, including Deputy Director for Technology of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, Director and CEO of Magellan, Inc., Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Space Department Head at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.
Griffin's educational background includes a B.A. in physics from Johns Hopkins University, a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland, and Master's degrees in aerospace science from Catholic University, electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, applied physics from Johns Hopkins University, business administration from Loyola College of Maryland, and civil engineering from George Washington University.
Griffin is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal and Goddard Astronautics Award, the National Space Club's Goddard Trophy, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award which can be conferred on a non-government employee.