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Presidential Space Summit

I was honored to be invited along with a handful of students to attend the Presidential Space Summit at the Kennedy Space Center on April 15th. This would be a conference where Obama would for the first time directly defend the budget he proposed for FY11, discuss the results of the Augustine Commission and propose new items to ease concerns within industry. I had three goals at this event: 1) To broaden my perspective on space policy and the state of the industry, 2) To represent a student perspective and to promote / raise awareness of groups such as SEDS, 3) To network with the 200 attendees, many of whom were high level members from industry. Discussion

Check out my twitter feed to get a more chronological timeline of the day:

Meeting Bill Nye, he's quite a character and will gladly shout out if hears something scientifically incorrect (as he did)

The stage a little early on. There are some neat people in this one.

Looking to the right of the stage. The flag is conveniently placed. Other cool people are hidden within this picture.

Standing with Norm Augustine, we had a nice conversation about the "Gathering Storm" report he chaired several years ago and his plans to spend some time in Colorado this summer. We also spoke about a story he told a while back at the Univ of Colorado and which I am quite fond: it's about his mother who grew up watching settlers come across the west in to Colorado on covered wagons. She lived to be 105 and was also able to see astronauts walk on the moon before passing on. Norm has 23 honorary degrees.

Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, no introduction necessary here... watch him on the Colbert Show last week:

Cool lights...

The room grows quiet, the presidential seal has now been placed on podium

The press

The man of the hour...

Moments after shaking his hand.

Behind the setup as a press area, probably 50 seats of space with TVs to watch the speech.

Obama walking among the crowd

After Obama's lecture there was some seat shifting. I'm sitting next to some very cool people (Buzz, CEOs and policy legends), the red arrow points to the top of my head.

Attending the breakout sessions after the main event. (Holdren, Garver, Augustine, O'Brien, Bolden)

Me enjoying the views of Space Shuttle Atlantis being prepped for launch next month.

Securing my loose articles of clothing before climbing up the shuttle

Standing between the shuttle and the external tank

Almost touching the space shuttle

At the top of the shuttle (nosecone is peaking out)

One hell of a kinematic mount, connects the SRB to the ET. 50,000 foot pounds of torque connect the ET to the shuttle.

Inside the aft portion of the Shuttle, these are the fuel lines leading into the space shuttle main engines!

some pictures courtesy of others who attended the event