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Thursday, January 10, 2013
8:00 pm
Beckman Auditorium – Beckman Auditorium

Science and the New Space Race: Opportunities and Obstacles

NASA's Herculean feats of engineering, science, and exploration have been celebrated for over half a century, but a paradigm shift is underway. Private corporations have ambitious agendas for orbital payload delivery and astronaut transport, space tourism, and even interplanetary travel. SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft has successfully docked with the International Space Station; Virgin Galactic is selling tickets for flights in SpaceShipTwo and has unveiled LauncherOne, its small satellite launch system; and the share of space technologies developed and built in the private sphere continues to increase as both old and new companies ramp up their space efforts.

Space agencies around the world, including in the United States, are increasing their reliance on these services to reduce costs and avoid long development cycles. What is the impact on the space, planetary, and earth sciences? Will these developments affect our ability to implement a broad, coherent space program that successfully tackles a wide array of ambitious scientific goals? How does this new landscape change the dynamics of international collaboration, public-private partnerships, intellectual property, and how will we strike a balance between scientific inquiry and the bottom line?

No registration is required for this free event. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

Join us for a discussion of these issues with an internationally renowned panel of scientists, industry executives, and policy experts:


Fiona Harrison, Ph.D.
Caltech Professor of Physics and Astronomy


John Grunsfeld, Ph.D.
NASA Associate Administrator for Science and former Space Shuttle Astronaut

Steve Isakowitz
Virgin Galactic Executive VP and Chief Technology Officer

John Logsdon, Ph.D.
Founder and former director of the George Washington University Space Policy Institute

Gwynne Shotwell
President of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)

Paul Wennberg, Ph.D.
Caltech Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering

This event is sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies and is part of The Caltech Y's Social Activism Speaker Series.

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