NWEN Think Tank: Space Exploration and Earthbound Technology

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Space research has always pushed the limits of what was achievable, and continues to be fertile ground for commercial spin offs and opportunities for entrepreneurs. How has space exploration led to new and transformative solutions to earth bound problems? Join us and find out how research and products developed for space applications are opening up new applications in power transmission, logistics and manufacturing, among other solution areas.

We are fortunate to feature three panelists who run companies that are developing today’s leading edge technologies for space and applying them to every day terrestrial problems. As always with NWEN Think Tanks, our event will allow for a collaborative exchange of ideas.

Robert P. Hoyt, President, CEO, and Chief Scientist of Tethers Unlimited, Inc
Tethers Unlimited, Inc. develops advanced propulsion, power, and communications technologies for applications in space, sea, and air. Dr. Hoyt co-founded Tethers Unlimited in 1994 to develop applications based upon space tether technologies, including devices for cost-effective deorbit of spacecraft to mitigate the growth of space debris, momentum-exchange propulsion systems for low-cost space transport, electrostatic systems for remediation of natural and artificial radiation belts, and electrodynamic propulsion systems for LEO satellites. In addition to this work, Dr. Hoyt leads the development of several innovative spacecraft technologies, including a structural-MLI technology for “Printable Satellites”, relative navigation sensors for formation-flying spacecraft, and “Structureless Antenna” technology enabling nanosatellites to perform high-bandwidth communications. He has also led efforts to develop several terrestrial spin-off applications of these space technologies, including systems for deploying optical tethers underwater to provide high-bandwidth communications for the Navy as well as sensor towing systems for UAVs. Prior to founding TUI, Dr. Hoyt worked as a research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has a B.A. in Physics from Williams College and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics, with a focus on electric propulsion and plasma physics, from the University of Washington.

Tom Nugent, President, LaserMotive, LLC
LaserMotive was co-founded in 2007 by Tom Nugent and Dr. Jordin Kare to commercialize laser power beaming technology. LaserMotive’s first project was to compete in the NASA Power Beaming Challenge, and in 2009 Team LaserMotive was the sole winner of the Level 1 prize, setting numerous power beaming records along the way. LaserMotive is now poised to develop commercial applications of power beaming, such as powering UAVs and remote sensors for the military.
Prior to LaserMotive, Mr. Nugent was a project scientist at Intellectual Ventures Labs, working on a variety of projects including the “Photonic Fence,” a system for shooting down mosquitoes via laser. And before co-founding LaserMotive Tom served as Research Director for LiftPort Inc., a pioneer in the development of the modern space elevator concept. He led the team that outlined a realistic path to space elevator development and worked on a variety of milestone tests of robotic lifters. His other space development work includes liquid-fueled rocket engine development through the MIT Rocket Team, advanced fusion propulsion research at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and consulting on micro-satellite markets. Mr. Nugent has also led volunteer groups throughout his adult life, starting with a National Space Society chapter in college (which won membership recruitment awards under Tom’s leadership). He has a B.S. in Physics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jason Andrews, President and CEO, Andrews Space
Founded in 1999 to be a catalyst in the commercialization, exploration and development of space, Andrews Space, Inc. is an integrator of aerospace systems, developer of advanced products and technologies, and provider of innovative solutions and technical services. In addition to leading the company’s daily operations, driving over 30% annual growth over the Company’s 10 year history, Mr. Andrews leads strategy development for the company. Andrews Space works with NASA on a range of programs including the Space Launch Initiative, Alternate Access to Station Program, development of an ESPA class solar electric vehicle for low cost exploration, Altair Lunar Lander Design Study and supports NASA LaRC to identify technologies for landing crew on the surface of Mars. In addition Andrews works on the Ares I launch vehicle and Orbital on the Cygnus spacecraft. Prior to co-founding Andrews Space, Mr. Andrews worked at Kistler Aerospace Corporation where he held a range of positions including K-1 Vehicle Two Project Manager and Design Integration Manager.