To my delight, the Space Tech Expo first day Keynote address was given by Todd May, Director, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center entitled Space Exploration 2.0: Innovation & Purpose in the 21st Century.
Todd May in front of a full audience at the Space Tech Expo giving his Keynote address (Image courtesy of Loretta Taranovich)
Todd May commented to the audience that it’s not just world Super Powers in space in the new millennium, but commercial industries. When I was at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) last August 2017, the NASA people told me that they are now a Spaceport (See my article Blue Origin at Kennedy Space Center). While standing at Launch Pad 39B at KSC, I looked over to nearby Launch Pad 39A and saw the Space X launching pad (In 2014, NASA signed a 20-year property agreement with SpaceX for the use and operation of the launch pad.)
Back in 2011, KSC sought partnerships with the U.S. aerospace industry to use former space shuttle facilities. Today, NASA has partnerships with more than 90 companies to foster commercial space manufacturing, processing and launch operations.
May then launched (pun intended) into the importance of the Rocket. Man has solved the mass/energy ration problem in modern rocketry. The rocket enabled the beginning of exploration, it is a catalyst for exploration, and we build and deploy tools for knowledge that are carried into space by the rocket. May gave us various images of what exploration is and here is one of them:
This is Exploration (Image courtesy of Todd May/NASA)
Looking towards the future, May commented that it took 40 missions to assemble the International Space Station (ISS) in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The Space Launch System (SLS) will deliver hardware to orbit the Moon for future manned landings. How many missions will that take? (To be determined)
At the end of the presentation, May asked the audience to identify the following photo:
Can you identify this photo? Where and when did this take place and what was the event? (Image courtesy of Todd May/NASA)