Press Release

Ensuring Safe Manned Spaceflight Topic of Capitol Hill Discussion

By SpaceRef Editor
May 14, 2010
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Ensuring Safe Manned Spaceflight Topic of Capitol Hill Discussion

Industry and government leaders will meet on May 20 to discuss “human rating” commercial space vehicles for manned spaceflight. Participants will address the current standards, design requirements, and regulations, as well as the policy framework that will be needed to satisfy safety considerations when relying upon the commercial space sector for U.S. space operations in low earth orbit.

“Ensuring Safe Manned Spaceflight: A Roundtable Discussion on Human Rating Requirements” The discussion, “Ensuring Safe Manned Spaceflight: A Roundtable Discussion on Human Rating Requirements,” is organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The roundtable is free, and open to the public, and will take place on Thursday, May 20, at 1:00 p.m., in room 208/209 of the Senate Visitors Center, located in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, East Capitol Street NE and 1st Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20001.

The event will be moderated by AIAA executive director Bob Dickman, and will feature Ken Bowersox, vice president of astronaut safety and mission assurance development, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX); Frank L. Culbertson Jr., senior vice president and deputy general manager of the advanced programs group, Orbital Sciences Corporation; Dr. George C. Nield, associate administrator for commercial space transportation, FAA; Bryan O’Connor, chief of safety and mission assurance, NASA; and Dr. George F. Sowers, vice president of business development, United Launch Alliance.

AIAA President Mark Lewis stated: “Human spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor which will never be completely safe. Because of its inherent risks, our collective consciences demand that, to the best of our ability, we make sure that astronauts have the greatest possible chance of survival as they venture into space, while balancing acceptable risk. It is therefore appropriate that we consider the challenges related to human-rating space vehicles, and remind ourselves of the many lessons we have learned about that endeavor, some of which have been painful.”

Although admission is free and open to the public and the media, space is limited. Please RSVP to to register, noting any media affiliation for reserved seating. For additional information, please contact Duane Hyland at 703.264.7558 or

AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit

Duane Hyland, 703-264-7558

SpaceRef staff editor.