4–8 January 2016
Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California


SciTech 2014 Highlights

Watch the SciTech 2014 Recap Video

More than 3,000 individuals from more than 1,600 institutions in 44 countries participated in the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (AIAA SciTech 2014) — the largest event for aerospace research, development, and technology in the world. The event addressed issues facing the aerospace industry, including the effects of future government R&D funding, the increasing cost and complexity of design, and the challenges of maintaining an educated workforce in a rapidly changing, technology environment.


Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) delivers opening keynote address at AIAA SciTech 2014, 13 January 2014

During the opening keynote, "Societal Importance of Federal R&D Investments", Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) told the audience that the United States must continue to invest in scientific research and development work if the nation hopes to maintain its economic prowess. "Investments in science and innovation are at the core of what has positioned our nation up until this moment," said Fattah, who is the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. "We have to make these investments."

The Monday keynote was followed by a panel focused on R&D Policy Implications and Investments The panel, moderated by Robert Braun, space technology professor at Georgia Tech, also included Mike Griffin, president, AIAA; Michael Gazarik, associate administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA; and Arati Prabhakar, director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. All agreed on the importance of federal R&D; however, the panelists had their own specific ideas on how to guarantee that this support continues.

Over the lunch hour on Monday, Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, presented the AIAA Durand Lectureship in Public Policy. His address, "American Space Strategy: Choose to Steer, Not Drift," detailed the impending consequences of the nation's inaction in steering the global space community. Pace analyzed critical failures in that regard, how these will eventually impact the U.S. in a post-American space era, and what the country must do to stop the drift and start steering again.

The evening Dryden Lectureship in Research, "Taking the Hype Out of Hypersonics Research: Contributions to Operational High-Speed-Systems" was presented by Mark J. Lewis, Director, The Science and Technology Policy Institute, Institute for Defense Analyses.


Richard F. Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, delivers keynote address at AIAA SciTech 2014, 14 January 2014

Tuesday, 14 January, started with a keynote address by Richard F. Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. His talk focused on "Innovating for an Era of Affordability: The Future of the Space Industry." He explained that NASA and the Defense Department want satellites and strategies that are more affordable but still resilient to human error, engineering mistakes or attack. "It's clear – very clear – that the government with industry, partnered with industry, we have to change," Ambrose said. While it is possible to improve affordability and still make satellites more resilient, resiliency improvements have been difficult to gauge. "Up until now, there's been no systematic, data-driven method for measuring resilience," he noted.

Tuesday morning's plenary panel, AIAA's Role in Defining the Future of Aerospace, focused on how AIAA can shape the future of aerospace and generated discussion along two tracks – first, what is the future of the industry and how can that future be shaped; and second, what role can AIAA play in that shaping? Chairing the panel was Jim Albaugh, executive vice president, The Boeing Company, former president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and president-elect, AIAA. Other panelists included David Paul Hills, director, research and technology, Airbus Americas; Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Lockheed Martin; Michael Ryschkewitsch, chief engineer, NASA; and John J. Tracy, chief technology officer and senior vice president, engineering, operations and technology, Boeing.


Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, delivers keynote address at SciTech 2014, 15 January 2014

The Pentagon's top weapons buyer is concerned that cuts to the Defense Department's research and development budgets will erode the United States' technological edge over a fast-rising China. "I do not want to live in a world in which the U.S. is the second-best power in the world militarily, from the point of view of technology," said Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, during his 15 January keynote address, "Tech Superiority in an Age of Austerity". "I do not want to live in a world where we're even at parity – I want us to continue to have an unfair advantage."

Designing for Affordability, the subject of Wednesday morning's panel discussion, presented a number of hurdles for industry and government, including security challenges that encompass shrinking appropriations; a financial crisis, with adverse trends in costs, debt, demographics and research; and an unstable and insecure world environment. The panel of industry leaders explored how new technologies and new approaches can influence system affordability and environmental impact to enable future aerospace missions. The panel was moderated by Jacques S. Gansler, professor, Roger C. Lipitz Chair, and Glenn L. Martin Institute Fellow of Engineering at the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland. Panelists included Carl Avila, Director, Advanced Weapons and Missile Systems, Boeing Defense, Space & Security; John Bergeron, Senior Director, Raytheon Six Sigma, Engineering Technology and Mission Assurance, Raytheon Company; and John Fisher, Chief Engineer, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Logistics, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.

Antonio Elias, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Orbital Sciences Corporation, delivered a tough message Wednesday afternoon to the audience at the von Kármán Lectureship in Astronautics, "Space Transportation: Past, Present, and ?". Elias argued that there is no Moore's Law for rocketry, much as everyone might like one, and that the only way to significantly reduce launch costs would be to spread costs over more launches. Elias ran through the long history of attempts to reduce launch costs through technology.


C. D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering, delivers keynote address at SciTech 2014, 16 January 2014

On Thursday morning, C. D. Mote Jr., president of the National Academy of Engineering, focused his keynote address, "Talent, the Coin of the Realm," on the difficulties of attracting, developing and retaining talent in the engineering community. He began by recalling Oliver Wendell Holmes' statement that "The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, but in which direction we are moving." Mote said, "We need to know where we are going; knowing what direction you are going in provides a lot of guidance - and what recent data tells us is that it isn’t going so well."

The following plenary panel, Future of Aerospace Education and Professional Development, highlighted the vital importance of continuing education and professional development to progress in your career. Alton Romig, vice president, engineering and advanced systems, and "chief skunk," Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, moderated the panel. Panelists included Ed Hoffman, chief knowledge officer and director of APPEL, the Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership at NASA; Leland Nicolai, emeritus member, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; David Radcliffe, head of engineering education and epistemology, and professor of engineering education, Purdue University; and Kate Stambaugh, space systems engineer, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab.

Other featured sessions at SciTech 2014 included:

Dates to Remember

  • Abstract Deadline: 02 Jun 2015
  • Manuscript Deadline: 01 Dec 2015
  • Early Bird Reg Deadline: 21 Dec 2015
  • Cancellation Deadline: 21 Dec 2015

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