Space Exploration, International Cooperation and American Competitiveness

Space Exploration, International Cooperation and American Competitiveness

Monday, October 29, 2007, 5:30 p.m.
InterContinental Hotel

On Monday, Oct. 29, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Adler Planetarium and C2ST co-hosted a presentation by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin titled “Space Exploration, International Cooperation and American Competitiveness” at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Following the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in 1957, the United States created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with the goal of taking the lead in the space race. NASA’s subsequent efforts have been a source of inspiration for the world, as well as technological innovations that benefit the larger U.S. economy, national security and scientific discovery.

In the decades following the Apollo missions to the moon and conclusion of the Cold War, NASA’s mission of space exploration has evolved from a race to a long, sustained journey that requires the best and brightest minds but also must be affordable. It is also an opportunity for tremendous international cooperation. The collaboration on the International Space Station demonstrates how Russia, Japan, western Europe, Canada and the United States can work together to spur both American and international technological innovation though space exploration.

Griffin began his duties as the 11th administrator of NASA in 2005. As administrator, he manages NASA’s resources to advance the U.S. vision for space exploration. Prior to being nominated as NASA administrator, Griffin served as space department head at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. He was previously president and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, Inc., and also served in several positions within Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Va., including chief executive officer of Orbital’s Magellan Systems division and general manager of the Space Systems Group.

About Michael Griffin
Nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Michael Griffin began his duties as the 11th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on April 14, 2005. As administrator, he leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration.

Prior to being nominated as NASA administrator, Griffin was space department head at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He was previously president and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, Inc., a private, nonprofit company whose mission is to help the CIA and the greater U.S. intelligence community identify, acquire and deploy cutting-edge technologies. Griffin also served in several positions within Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Va., including chief executive officer of Orbital’s Magellan Systems division and general manager of the Space Systems Group.

Earlier in his career, Griffin served as chief engineer and as associate administrator for exploration at NASA, and as deputy for technology at the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University, where he taught courses in spacecraft design, applied mathematics, guidance and navigation, compressible flow, computational fluid dynamics, spacecraft attitude control, astrodynamics and introductory aerospace engineering.

He is the lead author of more than two dozen technical papers, as well as the textbook Space Vehicle Design.

A registered professional engineer in Maryland and California, Griffin is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics, an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given to a non-government employee.

Griffin received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master’s degree in aerospace science from Catholic University of America; a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland; a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California; a master’s degree in applied physics from Johns Hopkins University; a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola College; and a master’s degree in civil engineering from George Washington University. He is a certified flight instructor with instrument and multi-engine ratings.