3rd Space Exploration Conference and Exhibition

The 3rd annual Space Exploration Conference and Exhibition was in Denver this year and we were invited to attend this invitation only event. One might think that invitation only events would be rather dull and highly boring, however I can easily say this was one of the best events I’ve ever been to.

NASA tasked Boeing with getting together the best of the best when it comes to space systems. And that’s what Boeing did.

When was the last time you stood next to America’s first liquid hydrogen fueled rocket engine, a Pratt and Whitney RL-10?

DSC_1868 (by Mr Ferguson)

In fact, Boeing still uses the RL-10 in their Delta IV. And of the three major rocket engines used in America (Boeing’s Delta IV, Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V and NASA’s Space Shuttle Main Engines), all of them are made by Pratt and Whitney.

Lockheed Martin had a robot there, Sprocket D. Rocket. Now originally, I thought it was just a simple AI robot. But then I listened to it talk and interact with other people and I thought it was just a remote controlled robot with a human behind it all. Later, someone told me that people would ask it esoteric questions in foreign languages and it would respond. If this is the case, then it fooled me and successfully passed my Turing test.

DSC_1854 (by Mr Ferguson)

The conference concluded with a panel of persons from all different aspects of the space industry, including a gentleman by the name of Pat Schondel who is the Vice President of Business Development for Boeing NASA Systems, a part of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. After the panel was over, I went over and talked with him for a few minutes and picked his brain a bit about Boeing, what’s going in the space sector and internship opportunities in the in the space sector at Boeing.

Talking to Mr. Schondel turned out to be one of the highlights of my time since I’ve been trying find out about Boeing’s space interests for some time now, but Seattle really isn’t the place to do that. Mr. Schondel was able to fill in some gaps for me and give me the ever so slighest glimpse of what goes on down in Houston.