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CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE

"Extreme Environments: Pushing the Boundaries"

Welcome to the 28th IEST Space Simulation Conference. This will be our 28th conference in 48 years. Our first conference was held in Houston, Texas, in 1966 and has occurred on an annual or bi-annual basis ever since. This year’s theme is “Extreme Environments: Pushing the Boundaries.”

The scientific community’s search for knowledge has been pushing recent missions into very harsh environments. The MESSENGER spacecraft, now orbiting Mercury, was designed and tested in an 11-sun environment, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is designed to survive the extreme cold of a 30K environment at the Lagrange point L2, the Van Allen Probes were designed for the high-radiation environment of the Van Allen Belts, the Solar Probe Plus mission is being designed to survive passes through the outer atmosphere of our sun at temperatures of ≈1450°C, and the BepiColombo, a European Space Agency (ESA)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission, will further explore the Mercury environments, just to touch on a few.

These challenging environments cause the testing community to “push the boundaries” of our technologies to be able simulate the test environments where our spacecraft are being designed to fly and survive. The purpose of this conference is to allow us, those responsible for testing the spacecraft and instruments, to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes in a technically feasible and cost-effective manner.

The successes of the many missions out there are made possible because of the contributions people like you make to the space industry every day. The IEST Space Simulation Conference allows us to connect with our peers and share the great work that we do. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the space program, to the advancement of our understanding of the complex interactions that make life possible on our home planet as it traverses through space, and to the 28th IEST Space Simulation Conference.

The 28th Space Simulation Conference starts on Monday with four tutorials from experts in the various disciplines covering survival and performance testing as well as launch and post-launch/on-orbit environments.

The first tutorial, Vibration Control Systems, will be presented by Gary Marraccini of Spectral Dynamics and will provide insight and understanding for both the new and the seasoned dynamics test personnel. The second tutorial, Helium Refrigeration Systems, presented by John P. Barrett, P.E., of Linde Cryogenics, will cover the essentials associated with the design, operation, and maintenance of a helium refrigeration system in support of space simulation chamber tests. Our third tutorial, Data Acquisition Systems, to be presented by Leo Monteiro of Dynavac, is tailored to engineers or technicians looking to obtain a general understanding of data acquisition (DAQ) equipment and software. Our final tutorial, Force Limited Vibration Testing, presented by Bill Zwolinski of the Kistler Instrument Corporation, will educate us on the principles of Piezoelectric Theory and how it works to provide one of our commonly used methods for the testing of flight hardware.

The 28th IEST Space Simulation Conference is blessed to have four keynote speakers. To kick off the conference, we are honored to have Bill Ochs, the JWST Project Manager. We are excited to hear more about this challenging mission that has required many of us to “push the boundaries” in our respective fields.

Our Tuesday luncheon keynote speaker is Frank Culbertson, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Programs Group for Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, Virginia. Frank Culbertson has “pushed the boundaries” as a naval aviator, fighter pilot, test pilot, NASA astronaut, shuttle commander, and space industry executive. We are very excited to hear about his perspectives on the space industry.

Wednesday morning we are honored to hear from our third keynote speaker, Mr. Craig Tooley, Project Manager for NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. This mission will be launching in early 2015 and consists of four identical spacecraft launched and flown in formation to complete its mission objectives. We are excited to hear about how Mr. Tooley and the MMS team had to “push the boundaries” to bring this mission to its current status.

To complete our conference, we are honored to have Dr. Patrick A. Stadter, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Program Manager for the Missile Defense Space Layer Experiments and Technical Advisor program. We are excited to hear how APL has had to “push the boundaries” in meeting the challenges that were overcome during APL Civil and National Security Space missions.

The success of the 28th IEST Space Simulation Conference is in large part due to the awesome support, dedication, and extra hours put in by the Management and Technical Program Committees. They make a tremendous team, and I am blessed to work with them and to have counted on many of them throughout my years in the space industry. I thank Brian Langmyer for his efforts in putting the technical program together and our past General Chairs, both working and retired—Manfred Diehl, Ed Packard, Elie Choueiry, and Terry Fisher—for all their support. I thank Hadi Navid and Nabil Copty for organizing the tutorial program; Dave Cornog’s for his experience and wisdom; Brian Kelly for coordinating all of the vendors; Dave Feick for arranging the social events; Hal Fox for designing and maintaining the spacesimcon.org website; Ed Packard and Bill Wilkinson for lining up our guest speakers; APL’s graphics artists for producing the brochures and pamphlets; Roberta Burrows and Heather Wooden of IEST for their continued support and IEST for all its support; all of our session chairs. There would be no conference without the support from these outstanding individuals.

I would also like to thank our vendor community for their support of the Space Simulation Conference. Not only are they vital in making the conference successful, but they provide a broad range of services and equipment that enable us to “push the boundaries” in our disciplines. The Virtual Expo on our website highlights these vendors’ products and capabilities. Please take some time and visit with them in person at the conference, and check out the links to their websites.

Finally, I would like to thank Dynavac, Linde Cryogenics, m+p, and XL Technology Systems for their overwhelming generosity in sponsoring our Wednesday evening reception and tour at the National Electronics Museum.

The 28th IEST Space Simulation Conference will be an intellectually stimulating and socially rewarding event. I would like to personally welcome you to the conference. You will walk away better prepared to “push the boundaries” when you return to fulfill your role in enriching mankind through the advancement of the space sciences.

Andy Webb
General Chair