Space Foundation News

Panel Discusses Space Pioneering Leadership and Economic Competitiveness

Written by: developer

The final Tuesday morning session of the 29th National Space Symposium, Pioneering Leadership and Economic Competitiveness, keyed off recent reports making recommendations for the future of NASA and the U.S. civil space program: the Space Foundation's PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space and the National Research Council (NRC)'s NASA's Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus.
The panel was moderated by The Honorable Robert S. Walker, executive chairman, Wexler & Walker (pictured, top).
The panelists (pictured in order) were:
  • James (Jim) Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
  • Frank Morring Jr., senior editor/space, Aviation Week & Space Technology
  • Ronald M. Sega, Ph.D, vice president and enterprise executive for energy and the environment, Colorado State University and The Ohio State University


Sega, who was vice chair of the Committee on NASA's Strategic Direction, which authored the NRC report, said, "NASA should take the lead in forging strategic goals" and should choose from four options suggested by the report:

1. restructure
2. engage in cost-sharing
3. increase the NASA budget
4. reduce size/scope

Maser said that, "Many thought there would be a longtime plan of pushing the boundaries in exploration, but this wasn't sustainable," noting that "we don't have to fully give up on this plan (because) a shift of technologies to the private sector has enabled expansion."

Stating his personal opinion of where NASA should go, Maser said, "The Moon is much closer and a lot easier to find than Mars."

Morring said he agrees there is a need for consensus and that, in the current atmosphere, NASA "needs a strong voice." He also said that he can see a "partnership with China in future."

See More

See the video here.

See photos here.

Learn about the Space Foundation's report, PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space here.