e-Town Hall Meeting with Dr. Bill Gerstenmaier (SpaceX), Dr. Bruce Banerdt (JPL), and Frank Czopek (GPS)

September 5, 2020 @ 10:00 am 4:00 pm PDT

e-Town Hall Meeting w/ Dr. Bill Gerstenmaier (SpaceX), Dr. Bruce Banerdt (JPL), & Frank Czopek

 Sep 5, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PT)

RSVP and Information: https://conta.cc/3eMyMrp

Volunteers are needed for all AIAA activities, please contact cgsonwane@gmail.com

Agenda/Schedule (September 5, 2020)

10:05 AM Dr. Chandrashekhar Sonwane (AIAA LA LV Section Chair) (Welcome)
10:10 AM Dr. Dan Dumbacher (AIAA Eexcutive Director)
10:30 AM Dr. Bill Gerstenmaier (SpaceX)
12:00 PM Dr. Bruce Banerdt (Mars InSight)
1:30 PM Frank Czopek (Introduction to GPS and Pre-History of GPS)
4:00 PM Adjourn

Saturday, September 5, 2020 (Add to Calendar)

International Space Station’s critical role in enabling human exploration beyond low Earth orbit


Dr. William H. Gerstenmaier


AIAA Honorary Fellow

Former Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (NASA HQ)


Gerstenmaier is widely considered one of the world’s top specialists in flying humans in space, frequently testifying before Congress on the subject. -CNBC.com, 22 February, 2020

William H. Gerstenmaier (born September 1954) is an aerospace engineer and policymaker, who served as NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations between 2005 and July 10, 2019. Prior to being Associate Administrator, Gerstenmaier served as the International Space Station Program Manager, at Johnson Space Center, a position he began in June 2002. In February of 2020 SpaceX announced that Gerstenmaier, had joined the company as a consultant, as the company prepared to launch astronauts for the first time.

As a teenager he followed the early space programs of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. He had early dreams of being a test pilot, and after high school, enrolled at the United States Naval Academy. After seeing so many pilots returning from the Vietnam War, he thought he may not get a chance to fly, and chose to reconsider his path. He transferred to Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, hoping to get into flight via academics. During his time at Purdue, Gerstenmaier found a great interest in space technology, and chose to focus on this area for his career.

Gerstenmaier graduated with a bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1977, and joined the Lewis Research Center (now called the John Glenn Research Center) in Ohio, beginning his career with NASA. Initially doing research with supersonic wind tunnels, developing air data curve information used during entry on the Space Shuttle. Gerstenmaier continued his education, obtaining his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo in 1981.

In 1980, Gerstenmaier moved to Houston, Texas, to work at the Johnson Space Center, in mission control specializing in propulsion systems on the Space Shuttle, and was involved in the earliest phases of the International Space Station design. In 1984, he was a semi-finalist in the selection for NASA Astronaut Group 10

In 1992, Gerstenmaier was given a fellowship from NASA to obtain his doctorate degree from Purdue, and in 1992 and 1993, he completed course work for a doctorate in dynamics and control, with a minor in propulsion at Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Of the time away from NASA, he said, “It was the most humbling experience of my life.” In May 2019, Purdue awarded Gerstenmaier an Honorary Ph.D. In Aeronautics and Astronautics.

In 1995, Gerstenmaier returned to NASA as the Shuttle/Mir Program Operations Manager, and was the liaison to the Russian Space Agency for operations and protocols. For the first half of 1996, he was stationed in Russia to support astronaut Shannon Lucid, who spent six months aboard Mir.

In December 2000, Gerstenmaier was named Deputy Manager of the International Space Station Program.

Throughout his career he has received numerous awards, but he recognizes that these awards are only possible through the work of amazing teams.

Mr. Gerstenmaier is well suited to talk about the unique role of ISS in exploration.

International Space Station’s critical role in enabling human exploration beyond low Earth orbit

Station is often recognized for being an engineering marvel, playing a key role in international cooperation, and for having crews continuously on board for almost 20 years. This presentation will focus on the key role that ISS is playing in enabling human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. ISS obviously can enable testing of spacecraft systems that must work for the extended journey’s beyond low Earth orbit. This presentation will discuss many subtle and critical aspects that are not commonly attributed to ISS. It is often stated that the funds spent of ISS would be better spent directly on human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. This presentation will provide an alternate viewpoint and show that ISS today is contributing in ways that could be critical to the future success.


The InSight Mission to Mars
JPL Mission Principal Investigator
Dr. Bruce Banerdt
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(Landed at Elysium Planitia on November 26, 2018)

Dr. Bruce Banerdt, Principal Investigator of the InSight mission, is a planetary geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He holds a B.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Southern California and has worked in the Earth and Space Sciences Division of JPL since 1977. Dr. Banerdt has served on a number of NASA and National Academy of Sciences advisory panels on planetary and space science and has published over 90 journal articles, reports and book chapters. His research focuses on the geological history of the planet Mars and geophysical investigations of the interiors of terrestrial planets using analyses of gravity, magnetic, topographic and seismic data. He has participated in several planetary flight instrument teams, including the MOLA altimeters on Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor, the SAR on Magellan, and the Seismometer on the CNES NetLander mission, and he served as Project Scientist for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers for six years.

The InSight Mission to Mars

The InSight landed in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars on November 26, 2018. In contrast to the 45 previous missions to Mars, which have thoroughly explored its surface features and chemistry, atmosphere, and searched for past or present life, InSight will focus on the deep interior of the plane, investigating the processes of terrestrial planet formation and evolution by performing the first comprehensive surface-based geophysical measurements on Mars, using seismologya, precision tracking (for rotational dynamics), and heat flow measurements. It will provide key information on the composition and structure of an Earth-like planet that has gone through most of the evolutionary stages of the Earth up to plate tectonics. I will describe the mission and its science goals, and give an update on its current status on the surface of Mars.


Introduction to GPS & Pre-History of GPS


Frank Czopek

• Has worked Space and armor systems for all his career • 35 years on GPS• Hired at the start of the GPS operational era• Held numerous jobs on GPS from Responsible Engineer to Program Manager• Unofficial GPS Space historian

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN*What Does the following have to do with GPS-The Slovakian independence movement of 1918-Development of RADAR-Nixon being elected to the second term in the White House-Sputnik-AC 130 Gunship*The significance of-NDS payload-ICDs*Why Raytheon claims to have invented GPS*The cast of Individuals who we need to thank


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September 5, 2020
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AIAA Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section

(May 23, 2020) e-Town Hall Meeting: Crew Dragon DM-2 and First Flights: A Historical Perspective

Crew Dragon DM-2 and First Flights: A Historical Perspective with authors from the Outward Odyssey series of spaceflight history books: (Michelle Evans) Francis French, David Hitt (Moderator), Richard Jurek, Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Melvin Croft, Geoffrey Bowman, and Chris Petty

Event information: https://conta.cc/3aPovsl

YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/geO_hCfD_94

YouTube AIAA LA-LV Channel: 

Crew Dragon DM-2 and First Flights: A Historical Perspective


May 23, 2020 @ 10:00 am 12:30 pm PDT

Crew Dragon DM-2 and First Flights: A Historical Perspective with authors from the Outward Odyssey series of spaceflight history books

RSVP and Information: https://conta.cc/3aPovsl

May 23, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM (PT)

Volunteers are needed for all AIAA activities, please contact


e-Town Hall Meeting May 23, 2020, 10AM-12:30PM


Crew Dragon DM-2 and First Flights: A Historical Perspective


authors from the Outward Odyssey series of spaceflight history books:

Michelle Evans, Francis French, David Hitt (Moderator), Richard Jurek, Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Melvin Croft, Geoffrey Bowman, and Chris Petty

(Please see below and RSVP & Information for speaker biography)

As NASA and SpaceX prepare for the first launch of astronauts from U.S. soil since the last flight of the shuttle nine years ago, the AIAA Los Angeles Section hosts authors from the Outward Odyssey series of spaceflight history books for a panel discussion of the preparation, risk and excitement that go into first flights of new vehicles. From the daring test pilots who risk their lives in cutting-edge planes to pave the way to space, to the first launches of new vehicles from Apollo to the Shuttle, to the dawning of the new era of commercial spaceflight, panelists will share stories from history on the eve of a new chapter of history beginning.


Join us for a relaxing and informative Saturday!

RSVP and Information


May 23, 2020 10:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Please click the link below to join the webinar:


Password: 713085

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +16699009128,,316257214# or +13462487799,,316257214#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or 877 853 5257 (Toll Free) or 888 475 4499 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 316 257 214

International numbers available: https://aiaa.zoom.us/u/abIuy3L4Tt


Michelle Evans is the founder and president of Mach 25 Media (www.Mach25Media.com) and is a writer, photographer, and communications specialist in aerospace. She has written the book “The X-15 Rocket Plane, Flying the First Wings into Space.”

Michelle’s background in aerospace engineering includes serving in the US Air Force working on missile systems, and later in private industry accomplishing environmental testing for systems used in airliners and spacecraft. Michelle is a Distinguished Lecturer with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and her book on the X-15 was a finalist for the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature.

Michelle received the Diverse Community Leader Award from Orange County Human Relations, and was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County. She has appeared in numerous publications, including Air & Space Smithsonian, Ad Astra, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, and the New York Times. Michelle was also a technical consultant on the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man.”

Francis French – Francis brings International experience in relating science, engineering, music, astronomy, art, and wildlife to general audiences through classes, workshops, public speaking, television and documentary productions. He is the author of numerous bestselling history books, and an international keynote speaker at conferences.

David Hitt – David Hitt is co-author of two books, “Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story,” written with astronauts Owen Garriott and Joe Kerwin, and “Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years.”

Hitt has worked at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center since 2002, and currently serves as a payload engagement strategist for NASA’s Space Launch System, working with scientists and mission developers interested in launching spacecraft on America’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket that will return astronauts to the moon. A contractor employee with ASRC Federal, Hitt is a recipient of the Silver Snoopy Award, given by NASA’s astronaut office.

A former newspaper editor, Hitt is a native of Huntsville, AL, and holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi. He is a former chair of the National Space Society’s policy formulation subcommittee and serves as a volunteer at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center museum in Huntsville, a role he began during a restoration effort for the Center’s Skylab trainer.

He and his wife, Rebecca, have one son, Owen.

Richard Jurek – Richard Jurek is the author of The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA’s Visionary Leader George M. Low (UNP Outward Odyssey Series, 2019), and he is also the co-author of Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program (MIT Press, 2014). A contributor to Air & Space magazine and website, he authored the January 2019 cover story “The Man Who Won the Moon Race,” a profile of George Low as Apollo Program Manager and his role in the Apollo 8 decision. He served as a consulting producer on the award-winning PBS/American Experience mini-series Chasing the Moon, and he is also a frequent commentator and speaker on NASA history, especially concerning its historic public affairs efforts and pioneering brand journalism. He has appeared internationally for media outlets such as Forbes, Slate, NBC News, CBS News, Canadian Public Radio, Australian Public Radio, U.S. National Public Radio, NPR’s Back Story with the History Guys, and other popular media outlets. A marketing and communications executive for the past quarter century, he lives and works in the greater Chicagoland area.

Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom is is an author, speaker and space entrepreneur. She is the Co-Founder of International Space Consultants and SpaceBase – a social enterprise working to democratize access to space in emerging countries, starting with New Zealand. Emeline is an Edmund Hillary Fellow, and is the former Chief Impact Officer of Singularity University based in California, USA. Emeline has Physics, and Earth and Space Science degrees, and attended the International Space University Space Studies Program. She has worked and consulted for several space startups including Space Adventures and Zero Gravity Corporation. She was the Payload Flight Manager for Odyssey Moon. Emeline is co-author of the book Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Space Flight which was selected in 2013 for the US Air Force’s Chief of Staff Reading List.

Melvin Croft is coauthor of Come Fly With Us: NASA’s Payload Specialist Program, which details “an elite group of space travelers who flew as members of many space shuttle crews from pre-Challenger days to Columbia in 2003. Not part of the regular NASA astronaut corps, these professionals, known as ‘payload specialists,’ came from a wide variety of backgrounds and were chosen for an equally wide variety of scientific, political, and national security reasons,” according to the University of Nebraska Press.
An instructor in the Department of Geology at Colby College, Croft is a retired geoscientist, having worked for Chevron around the globe, and joined Colby’s ranks 10 years ago. An avid scientist, he has used his “retirement” to move from the terrestrial to the extraterrestrial and examine the history of U.S. spaceflight, culminating in the release of this book.
Geoffrey Bowman is a contributor to the Outward Odyssey book Footprints in the Dust, in which he shares his journey from the UK to Florida to watch the launch of the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. A retired Belfast solicitors Bowman is also author of a forthcoming volume in the series, a biography of Apollo 17 astronaut Ron Evans that will be published next year.
Chris Petty is a space and aviation enthusiast and author of The High Frontier blog. His articles have appeared on Adam Savage’s Tested site and the Space Review and his first book Beyond Blue Skies: The Rocket Plane Programs That Led to the Space Age is due for publication this November as part of the Outward Odyssey series.

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