Validation of the first parts in the production part-approval process is extremely important to aerospace engineering, but not as important as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) holding its biennial Aerospace Systems Conference this month.
The overall goal of this event is to recognize the significant contributions African Americans have made to the industry. To do that, the conference will bring together the who’s who of African Americans in the aerospace industry.
One such contribution is from keynote speaker, Ernest Levert, who is a senior engineer at Lockheed Martin.
He developed a system of elbow tubing designed to carry coolant gasses in radiators that are part of the International Space Station.
Other keynote speakers are set to include NASA Administrator, Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden; Director of Engineering, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Felicia Jones, Ph.D.; and other brilliant minds from the African American community.
Surprisingly, the conference comes at a time when NASA has big plans in store.
Experts are currently preparing to launch the first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth.
The hope of this mission is that the returned sample will help scientists further investigate how the planets in our solar system formed and how life initially began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth in the future.
The spacecraft, titled the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), will travel to Bennu, an asteroid that is close to Earth, and bring a sample back to Earth for extensive testing and study.
“This mission exemplifies our nation’s quest to boldly go and study our solar system and beyond to better understand the universe and our place in it,” said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
“NASA science is the greatest engine of scientific discovery on the planet and OSIRIS-REx embodies our directorate’s goal to innovate, explore, discover, and inspire.”
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is only the beginning, too. This craft is the start of a seven-year endeavor to bring samples from Bennu back to Earth for study.
However, OSIRIS-REx won’t get very far without adequate aerospace engineers like the ones attending the NSBE’s Aerospace Systems Conference.
In addition to its impressive set list of speakers, the conference will also offer several panel discussions, conduct peer-review technical paper sessions, and provide training courses to those engineers interested.
The Aerospace Systems Conference is scheduled to take place August 24-27 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, in Arlington, Virginia.