2016 Highlights of AAS Activities

In February 2016, AAS co-hosted the 27th Annual Space Flight Mechanics Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, and hosted the 40th Annual Guidance and Control Conference in Breckenridge, Colorado.  Both events attracted large audiences and a record number of technical papers.

In March, the 55th AAS Goddard Memorial Symposium held in Greenbelt, Maryland featured remarks by the Science Advisor to the President and Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the NOAA Chief Scientist. 

In July, the sixth annual International Space Station Research & Development Conference held in San Diego, California included discussions on developing markets in low Earth orbit, as well as insights into the unique scientific capability of the ISS. 

In October, the 9th Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium held in Huntsville, Alabama featured a stellar program, highlighted by attendance of the NASA Administrator Charles Bolden for the entire event.

One of AAS’s hallmark events is the annual CanSat Competition held every year in Texas.  This popular and important event is dedicated to the development of our next generation of space professionals.  The 2016 CanSat was the best ever, attracting over 200 university students from ten countries who designed and built working science payloads for launch.

Young professionals, our next generation of explorers, scientists and leaders, made significant contributions to AAS in 2016 by participating on the Board, as speakers at conferences, by hosting young professional networking events and taking the lead in a major redesign of the AAS website.  We share the common commitment of the space community to their professional development and appreciate working with them to advance our shared goals for space science, exploration and utilization.  Their passion and excitement bring an added energy to our activities!

For the fourth time AAS, along with Explore Mars, Inc., supported the Achieving and Sustaining Human Exploration of Mars Workshop in December, which emphasized the investments necessary for initial human missions to Mars in the mid-2030s.  The final report of the workshop is posted on the Society’s website.

A relatively new activity sponsored by AAS is our popular Google Hangout series.  Last year these events facilitated discussions among a broad audience on human and scientific exploration of Mars as well as space exploration in general.  Other Hangout topics included the future of astronomical space research, updates on the James Webb Space Telescope and the search for life in the cosmos.  Hangouts continue to be scheduled twice per month and an archive of past Hangouts can be accessed on the AAS website or viewed through YouTube.com.

AAS capped off 2016 with a special Space-based Environmental Intelligence event held in December at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.  This event featured Representative Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, who gave an enthusiastic talk about the efforts of NASA and NOAA in Earth observation from space.  The audience also was treated to a powerful taped interview featuring the final media appearance of astronaut and Earth scientist Dr. Piers Sellers, who vividly described how observation from space has made amazing contributions to our understanding of climate change.

The state of the AAS has never been stronger due to the support of its individual, corporate and institutional members.  Our impressive Board of Directors includes representatives of industry, government, academic institutions and international organizations.  AAS’ peer-reviewed online The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences has been published continuously since 1954, and our bi-monthly Space Times magazine soon will move to the digital world.  Our partnership with NASA on various events continues to be invaluable – and is an honor to have such a great relationship working with NASA.

A huge THANKS to all our individual and corporate members, officers, and Board of Directors that helped to make each and every one of these events and activities a success for our Society.  As a volunteer organization, we couldn’t have done it without you!!

We would welcome any feedback you may have on how we are doing and how we can enhance our value.