HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (October 24, 2011) - The campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville will draw aerospace leaders from around the country this week for the fourth annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium.

"Launching the Future in Space Exploration" is the title of the symposium that begins today and goes through Wednesday. Most of the activity will take place in the Chan Auditorium of the Business Administration Building.

The symposium gets under way in earnest Tuesday morning at 8:30 with remarks by Frank Slazer, Aerospace Industries Association president, and Marshall Space Flight Center Director Robert Lightfoot. NASA Associate Administrator Chris Scolese will also report on developments from NASA headquarters at the opening session. 

Go to this link for a complete agenda

Dan Dumbacher, NASA's assistant associate administrator for human exploration capabilities, will examine the space agency's new exploration road map including the Space Launch System and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. He will also moderate a panel on industry's role in sustainable space exploration, which will include aerospace executives.

William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, is the luncheon speaker at UAHuntsville's University Center. Afternoon panels focus on commercial space and integrating robotic and human exploration. Tuesday's discussions will cover military space initiatives, the new National Institute of Rocket Propulsion Systems and general space policy.

The Wernher von Braun Memorial Dinner will conclude the symposium on Wednesday evening at 7 o'clock in the Davidson Center at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Bob Crippen, former astronaut and Kennedy Space Center director, will speak.

More information about the symposium is available online at