2012.K.1.1 Space Technology At NASA: Breadth, Depth, and a Small-Satellite Strategy

Presented at iCubeSat 2012 on Tuesday, 29th May 2012 @ 14:10


Mason Peck (1)

  1. Chief Technologist, NASA, USA

On January 1, 2012, Cornell University Professor Mason Peck became NASA’s chief technologist. Peck will serve as the agency’s principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning technology policy and programs. As the chief technology advocate, Peck will help communicate how NASA technologies benefit space missions and the day-to-day lives of Americans. Peck serves as NASA’s chief technologist through an intergovernmental personnel agreement with Cornell, where he is on the faculty as an associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and teaches in Cornell’s Systems Engineering Program. He has a broad background in aerospace technology, which comes from nearly 20 years in industry and academia. Prior to his NASA appointment, Peck also worked as an engineer and consultant with industry and organizations including Boeing, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, Goodrich and Lockheed Martin. At Cornell, Peck’s work focuses on spacecraft dynamics, control and mission architectures. Some of this research includes micro-scale flight dynamics, gyroscopic robotics, and magnetically controlled spacecraft, most of which have been demonstrated on NASA microgravity flights. He has been the P.I. for two nanosatellites, CUSat and Violet, which are anticipating launches in 2012-2013. Peck earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles as a Howard Hughes Fellow and a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Chicago.


Keynote (Technology)



NASA’s new Space Technology Program has funded more than 1,000 projects since its inception in 2011. These projects span the entire spectrum of technology readiness – from early-stage concepts to flight-demonstration hardware that will enable our future missions. Several new programs at NASA within Space Technology offer funding opportunities for innovators across the nation to develop small-satellite technologies: ELaNa, which provides launch opportunities for cubesats; Edison, which provides significant funding for in-orbit technology demonstrations; and a suite of early-stage innovation and game-changing development programs. In particular, the Edison SmallSat program helps to continue America’s leadership in space through the further development of this class of satellites–small, agile and relatively inexpensive spacecraft that could perform many tasks in science, exploration, operations, and commercial development of space in a way that has not been seen before.  These spacecraft represent a new opportunity for NASA to approach its diverse goals in science, exploration and education.  Encouraging the growth of small-spacecraft technology also benefits our economy.  Many of the technologies that enable small spacecraft come from the innovative world of small business, where commercial practices provide innovative and cost-effective solutions. Those technologies will continue to advance in performance as demand and competition drive companies to excel.



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