Speakers and Moderators 2014 

Ben Brockert – Speaker
Founder and CEO, Able Space Corporation

Ben Brockert is the founder and CEO of Able Space Corporation, which focuses on research and development contracts for commercial space companies. Mr. Brockert was previously employed at Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems. At Armadillo he developed a 4000-lbf methane rocket engine for Project Morpheus, as well as working on VTVL rockets and rocket planes. At Masten he ran rocket engine and vehicle test operations that led to winning $1.15M in NASA's Centennial Challenge, the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.


Bob Richards – Moderator
Co-Founder & CEO, Moon Express

Bob RichardsDr. Robert (Bob) Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation and Google Lunar X PRIZE competitors Odyssey Moon Ltd. and Moon Express, Inc. Bob participated in the 2007 NASA Mars Lander mission and 2004 XSS-11 mission of the US Air Force. He is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and co-chairs the Exploration Committee of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.



Bradley Cheetham – Speaker 
Chief Operating Officer, Black Swift Technologies 

Bradley CheethamBradley Cheetham is the Chief Operating Officer of Black Swift Technologies, a Boulder Colorado based company that specializes in the development of commercial and civil unmanned autonomous aircraft. At Black Swift Technologies he is responsible for strategic planning, business development, and corporate management. Mr. Cheetham is currently completing his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he also leads in the development of a graduate curriculum in commercial spaceflight operations. He has experience leading teams and proposals within non-profit organizations, research institutions, and start-up companies. Bradley's start-up background includes efforts developing space technology, enterprise software, non-profit outreach programs and commercial unmanned aircraft as well as experience working with government entities such as NASA and the FAA. He was recently recognized by Aviation Week with the Twenty20s Award as one of the top 20 young leaders in the aerospace industry. Bradley serves on the board of directors for the Future Space Leaders Foundation, is a member of the Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, is a member of the AIAA Space Transportation Technical Committee, and is involved with entrepreneurial ventures in aerospace and software. Mr. Cheetham earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Carissa Christensen - Moderator
Managing Partner, The Tauri Group

Carissa ChristensenCarissa Bryce Christensen is a founder and Managing Partner of The Tauri Group. For 25 years, Ms. Christensen has been a recognized expert in commercial space, and has engaged the leading edge of the space industry with innovative analysis of space systems, industry economics, advanced technologies, unique regulatory requirements, and underlying demand. Her on-going work with government agencies, industry organizations, launch firms, and satellite manufacturers and operators helps decision makers better understand market positioning, future demand for space services, and competitive dynamics. Ms. Christensen’s extensive publications include contributions to peer-reviewed journals, industry publications, books, and conference proceedings. She is often quoted in trade and popular media. Ms. Christensen holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where she specialized in science and technology policy. She also completed the General Course in Government at the London School of Economics and was a Douglass Scholar at Rutgers University.


Jeff Greason – Keynote Speaker
CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, XCOR Aerospace

Jeff GreasonJeff Greason has nearly 20 years experience managing innovative technical project teams at XCOR Aerospace, Rotary Rocket Company (RRC), and Intel Corporation. He is the president and a co-founder of XCOR; leading an engineering team that has developed 11 different long life, highly reusable, liquid-fueled rocket engines using nitrous oxide, liquid oxygen, and hydrogen peroxide oxidizers, with kerosene, alcohol, ethane, and other nontoxic propellants. Under Jeff’s leadership the company has also developed low cost liquid propellant piston pumps and two generations of piloted reusable rocket aircraft. Jeff has led XCOR’s rocket engine projects by employing the management techniques he developed at Intel that focus on increasing the design-build-test cycle as a means of speeding research and development. At Intel, he developed leading edge techniques to prepare new generations of Intel computer chip designs for mass production, dramatically shortening the design, and production period. Intel management presented Jeff with a coveted Intel Achievement Award for his work on BiCMOS technology, which later became the basis for the Pentium processor. Prior to co-founding XCOR, he hired and managed the propulsion team at RRC, where he led technical development of the company’s rocket engines.

As a recognized expert in FAA/AST reusable launch vehicle (RLV) regulations, Jeff supervised XCOR’s reusable launch vehicle licensing efforts through completion in early 2003. He also provided support to the Mojave Airport on their successful application as the first inland spaceport and commercial launch site for reusable launch vehicles. Jeff has been a member of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) RLV working group since 2000 and now serves on the full COMSTAC.  He is a co-founder and vice-chairman of the Personal Spaceflight Federation, a trade association for innovative launch companies. Jeff has testified before joint House/Senate subcommittee hearings on “Commercial Human Spaceflight” that addressed the transition from aircraft regulation to launch vehicle regulation for suborbital vehicles. In 2009 he was named to the President’s Human Space Flight Review Committee (Augustine Committee).

In 2002 Time magazine named Jeff as one of their “Inventors of the Year” for his team’s work on the EZ-Rocket. He holds 22 U.S. patents and graduated with honors from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


John C. (Chris) Andrews – Keynote Speaker
Director, Strategic Planning and Business Development, United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Chris Andrews currently leads the strategic planning and business development activities for United Launch Alliance (ULA). Prior to joining ULA, Mr. Andrews worked for Booz Allen Hamilton providing technical, policy, acquisition and program management support to the government on critical space technology development and demonstration programs focused on transformational space capabilities.

 Andrews has more than 20 years of government service as a civilian, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he performed technical, programmatic and policy oversight of all space launch and space control programs within the DoD. Mr. Andrews has 14 years of experience in the research and development of space transportation technologies through various positions held in Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Andrews holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electronic engineering (BSEE, MSEE) from Northrop University.


Joshua Brost – Keynote Speaker
Business Development Manager, SpaceX

Joshua BrostJosh Brost manages commercial sales activities in North America for SpaceX. In this role, he is focused on deepening SpaceX’s relationships with commercial satellite operators and spacecraft manufacturers. Prior to Joining SpaceX, he worked as an Aerospace Engineer for The Boeing Company and a Management Consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. Josh earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University and The University of Washington respectively and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.



Laurence A. Price - Keynote Speaker
Deputy Program Manager, Crew Exploration Vehicle, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company

Laurence PriceLaurence A. Price is Deputy Program Director for the NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle and responsible for Development of the Orion Vehicle. Price was the Director of Space Transportation Strategic Development responsible for Lockheed Martin Launch Systems long-term direction addressing Department of Defense, NASA and Commercial space transportation. Price previously served as Director, Alternate Access to Space Station (AAS) project to develop a commercial logistics capability to autonomously deliver and return International Space Station cargo. He was responsible for the project concluding with the System Design Review milestone. Price was Director Crew Return Vehicle Project. He was responsible for project management and positioning Lockheed Martin Astronautics for a win of the NASA Johnson Space Center International Space Station (ISS) rescue vehicle project. The Crew Return Vehicle was being designed to provide astronauts aboard the International Space Station a way to return to Earth in case of an emergency. He was also director of the Small Launch Vehicles program responsible for the Athena and Multi-Service Launch Systems programs, and oversaw the development and successful firstflights of the Athena I and Athena II launch vehicles. He also directed the Titan II Space Launch Vehicle program and was a project engineer on the NASA Space Shuttle Air Force payload integration contract.


Peter Platzer  - Moderator
CEO, NanoSatisfi

Peter PlatzerPeter is a high-energy physicist who passionately believes that mankind should have affordable access to space.  Originally from Austria, he trained at CERN and the Max Planck Institute before turning to business with the Boston Consulting Group in Germany, Singapore, and Thailand.  Peter started a quantitative investment management firm out of Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar, and has spent the past decade on Wall Street, including with Deutsche Bank and The Rohatyn Group.

After attending Singularity University’s inaugural Executive Program in 2009 and realizing the potential for commercial space exploration, Peter decided to leave finance to pursue his true passions – space and data.  He went on to graduate first in his class from the master program at the International Space University, spent some time at NASA Ames’ Space Portal, and started NanoSatisfi in 2012 to make space exploration available to everyone, with a focus on enterprise data for Machine-to-Machine asset tracking and monitoring and weather data.   Peter also continues to serve as a Career Coach at HBS, is a regular speaker at technology, entrepreneurship and business conferences and has been named a White House Champion of Change in 2013 for his ground breaking work in using crowd-funding for commercial space exploration.


Phillip Larson - Moderator
Senior Advisor, Space and Innovation, Office of Science and Technology Policy, The White House

Phillip Larson

Phil Larson is currently Senior Advisor for Space and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he works for Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor. Mr. Larson joined the Obama Administration in 2009, and during the President’s first term also spent time at the science and space branch of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Larson is on leave from The George Washington University where he pursued graduate work in international science and technology policy and served as a research assistant at the Space Policy Institute. Previously, he worked at the Department of Commerce’s Office of Space Commercialization and volunteered on the President’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. From 2003-2007, Mr. Larson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace studies from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University while working at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Daytona Beach News-Journal.


Sam Scimemi
Director for International Space Station at NASA Headquarters

Sam Scimemi

Mr. Scimemi is the Director for International Space Station at NASA Headquarters within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. His duties consist of ensuring safe and productive ISS operations and utilization; implementing policy and programmatic direction; and communicating progress and issues with the White House and Congress.

Mr. Scimemi has been a leader in human spaceflight for 28 years. His experience spans human space flight, earth and space science as both a contractor and civil servant. His background includes development and testing of complex space systems, and real-time operations. He has been employed at four NASA centers; Johnson Space Center, Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Headquarters. His career has encompassed the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) programs. He is a native of Louisiana and has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from McNeese State University.


Dr. Sandra H. Magnus – Keynote Speaker
Executive Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Sandra MagnusDr. Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Dr. Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech (1996).

Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, Dr. Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.

While at NASA, Dr. Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station.

Before joining NASA, Dr. Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.

Dr. Magnus has received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award (given to former collegiate women athletes to recognize the impact of Title IX).


Steve Eisenhart
Senior Vice President for Strategic & International Affairs, The Space Foundation

Steve EisenhartAs head of international affairs, Eisenhart is principally responsible for the Space Foundation's global strategy and relationships with international space agencies and organisations, foreign embassies and U.S. organisations involved with global space programs. He is directly responsible for the programme development and integration of key Space Foundation activities including the annual Space Symposium. He also supervises the Space Foundation's government affairs activities in the Washington, D.C., office including relationships with government agencies, other space advocacy organisations and associations and corporate interests. Since joining the Space Foundation in 1996, Eisenhart has had a broad range of responsibilities, serving as senior vice president of strategic communications, director of communications and public affairs and communications manager. Eisenhart was a military public affairs official and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.


William J. Pomerantz – Speaker
Vice President for Special Projects, Virgin Galactic

William PomerantzWill Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. In that role, Will helps extend Virgin Galactic’s efforts beyond space tourism, developing efforts such as the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle for small satellites as well as suborbital research campaigns on board SpaceShipTwo. Will also serves as a Trustee and the Chair of the Board of Advisers for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the world's largest student space organization. He is a graduate of Harvard University, the NASA Academy, and the International Space University. Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, he worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, where he served as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE. Additionally, Will has worked at Brown University, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations, and he was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of SpaceAlumni.com, an early social network for space professionals.




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