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2014 Speakers



Donald Kessler
Retired, NASA
Orbital Debris Consultant

Donald J. (Don) Kessler retired from NASA in 1996 as NASA's first Senior Scientist for Orbital Debris Research.  He has published more than 100 technical papers on meteoroids and orbital debris, has been a contributing author or editor of major reports and publications, and has received numerous awards for his pioneering work.  Since retiring, he has continued to consult with NASA and other agencies.  His most recent activities include chairing the National Research Council's assessment of the NASA orbital debris programs and supporting the assessment of orbital debris environment models by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center.

Michael C. Romanowski
Director, NextGen Integration & Implementation
Federal Aviation Administration

Dr. Michael Romanowski is the Director of FAA's NextGen Integration and Implementation office. His office ensures the application, planning, programming and budgeting of FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) portfolio and manages its integration and execution across all FAA lines of business. His office is also responsible for FAA's NextGen-related engagement with industry stakeholders. Before joining the FAA, he served as Vice President of Civil Aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), where he headed all its activities on aviation issues and policy, including the areas of research and development, aviation infrastructure, and safety and security. He also served as the Director of Product Safety, Certification and Airworthiness at Sikorsky Aircraft with responsibilities spanning Sikorsky's entire product line. Before joining Sikorsky, he held a similar role at Pratt & Whitney where his responsibilities covered all of Pratt & Whitney's large commercial engines. He has broad experience in research, development, validation and fleet operations of jet engines.

Bryan Benedict
Product Line Manager,
Hosted Payloads
Intelsat General

Dr. Bryan L. Benedict serves as the Product Line Manager for Hosted Payloads at Intelsat General Corporation. He has worked extensively within both the DoD and US Civil Agencies to socialize the advantages of hosting imaging payloads on commercial spacecraft. Additionally, Dr Benedict has been a key driver in the commercial industry for the use of space robotics for both recovery and life extension of geosynchronous satellites.  Prior to his current position Dr. Benedict served as the Director of Engineering for Satellite Acquisitions for PanAmSat.  Dr. Benedict started his career as a chemical engineer in the petroleum industry – inventing and patenting several catalysts still used for stabilization of jet fuels.  Dr Benedict earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1986, where he conducted research on the stabilization of “high energy” materials within crystalline lattices.  Dr. Benedict has been awarded a number of patents throughout his career – the latest for delivery of microsatellites to orbit piggybacking on the nadir deck of geosynchronous communication satellites.


James Dunstan
Founder, Mobius Legal Group

James E. Dunstan is the founder of Mobius Legal Group where he has 30 years assisting clients on issues of high technology, communications, and space law. Jim represents a significant number of burgeoning outer space companies: he drafted and negotiated the first commercial lease for the Russian Mir space station on behalf of MirCorp. Jim assisted in negotiating with the Russian Space Agency and NASA to shoot the first television commercial onboard the International Space Station (ISS). He helped arrange for the first pitch of the 2002 baseball World Series to be conducted onboard ISS. He has also been involved in export issues (ITAR) related to experimental hardware launched on Russian rockets. He has assisted a number of clients in crafting Space Act Agreements with NASA.

Jim assisted in drafting the Virginia Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act, as well as Virginia’s “Zero G/Zero Tax” legislation as a member of the Virginia JCOTS Aerospace Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Space Frontier Foundation’s Teachers In Space project.


Brian Weeden
Secure World Foundation

Brian Weeden is the Technical Advisor for Secure World Foundation and has 15 years of professional experience in the national and international space security arena. He is a leader for providing critical analysis that supports development of space policy. Prior to joining SWF, Mr. Weeden served nine years on active duty as an officer in the United States Air Force. As part of U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), Mr. Weeden directed the orbital analyst training program and developed tactics, techniques and procedures for improving space situational awareness. In his current role as Technical Advisor, Mr. Weeden conducts research on space debris, global space situational awareness, space traffic management, protection of space assets, and space governance. He is currently Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Space Security. Mr. Weeden's research and analysis have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, USA Today, The BBC, Fox News, China Radio International, The Economist, The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, academic journals, presentations to the United Nations, and testimony before the U.S. Congress.


Leonard David  (Lunch Speaker)
Space Journalist

Leonard David is a space journalist, reporting on space activities for over 45 years. He is co-author with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration released in May and published by the National Geographic Society. Mr. David is the 2010 winner of the prestigious National Space Club Press Award, presented this honor during the Club’s annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in April 2011 that was held in Washington, D.C. He has been a consultant to NASA, other government agencies and the aerospace industry. In the mid-1980's he served as Director of Research for the National Commission on Space, a U.S. Congress/White House study that appraised the next 50 to 100 years of space exploration.Currently, Mr. David is’s Space Insider Columnist, as well as a correspondent for Space News newspaper and a contributing writer for several magazines, specifically Aerospace America, the membership publication of the Americ an Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Roger Launius (Dinner Speaker)
Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs
National Air and Space Museum

Roger D. Launius is Associate Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian of the NASA.  A graduate of Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, he received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1982 and worked as a civilian historian with the United States Air Force until 1990. He has written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history, including Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space (NASA SP -2011-593, 2012), which received the AIAA’s history manuscript prize. Dr. Launius has lectured widely on historical subjects to military, academic, technical, and general audiences. He has also served part-time on the faculties of several colleges and universities.  In 2009 he received the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award from the American Astronautical Society, the Secretary’s Research Prize from the Smithsonian Institution, and the Roger R. Trask Award from the Society for History in the Federal Government, 2009. In addition, he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the American Astronautical Society; and Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics.