6th Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium coming


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Oct. 1, 2013) - The sixth Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium will be held by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) Oct. 7-10 in Chan Auditorium of the Business Administration Building on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

"The symposium is an excellent way to draw together experts in the field, who then have the opportunity to exchange information and together envision the future of space exploration," said Dr. Ray Vaughn, UAH vice president for research. "It's a great way for the leaders in their fields to communicate with each other, touch base on developments and plan what's next."

The entire symposium is about bringing space exploration forward, said Dr. Gary Zank, UAH professor, director of the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research and Pei-Ling Chan chair. Dr. Zank will be a panelist for a discussion of the "Role of Higher Education in Space Exploration."

"Higher education is critical to this for several reasons," Dr. Zank said. "Higher education provides the new generation of leadership to accomplish exploration programs that will be decades long, higher education conveys the knowledge, the triumphs and the excitement of the past to a new generation of scientists and engineers, and finally higher education ensures that the importance of space science to the U.S. is communicated."

Keynoting the 25th Annual Von Braun Memorial Dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 9, will be Dennis Tito, founder and chairman of the Inspiration Mars Foundation. Tito fulfilled his 40-year dream to orbit the Earth when he served as a crewmember of an eight-day Russian Soyuz mission to the International Space Station in 2001. Lockheed Martin is the presenting sponsor.

The theme of the dinner is "Future Mars Human Exploration." A separate event held during the symposium at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Davidson Center for Space Exploration, the dinner begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception. Dinner is at 7 p.m.

The symposium was organized by AAS in conjunction with UAH, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the Huntsville National Space Club. The media sponsor is SpaceNews. The education sponsor is Aerojet Rocketdyne. The event is co-sponsored by Boeing , Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital Sciences Corp., SpaceX and United Launch Alliance.

Tito will also be the special guest when students display their research posters on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 5:45 p.m. at a reception at the Burritt on the Mountain Baron Bluff Building. The event is sponsored by United Launch Alliance.

"The Wernher von Braun Symposium draws top leaders in the aerospace field, including private companies and government agencies," said David Cook, UAH student research program coordinator. "With most of the symposium being hosted on our campus, this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the capabilities of UAH's undergraduate and graduate students. It also gives students the opportunity to learn about the AAS and network face-to-face with its members."

The posters are undergraduate and graduate student design and research projects relevant to the aerospace industry. Posters are displayed during the Opening Kick-Off Event without representation. However, to be eligible for prizes, students must attend the Tuesday night event and present their posters to AAS-appointed judges.

Symposium information and a program schedule are available at http://www.astronautical.org.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Thomas Koshut


April Harris


Jim Steele