by Linda KC Reynolds
The Antelope Valley Chapter of the International Test and Evaluation Association recently hosted guest speaker, President of Dynetics Technical Solutions Steve Cook, at their quarterly luncheon at Club Muroc on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where he presented “The Future of Human Space Flight.”
ITEA members come together to learn and share with others from industry, government and academia, who are involved with the development and application of the policies and techniques used to assess effectiveness, reliability, interoperability and safety of existing, legacy and future technology-based weapon and non-weapon systems and products throughout their lifecycle.
“ITEA’s mission is absolutely critical when we see the kinds of things going on today,” said Cook who worked at NASA for 20 years before transferring to the private industry nine years ago. He still consults with NASA.
“Exploration has been influenced by governments and politics since day one,” said Cook as he explained that the Chinese were close to discovering new lands as far west as Africa when the political leadership changed, ending exploration. In 1500 it became a capital offense for the Chinese to build a ship with more than two masts, ending exploration.
“Successful, enduring and sustainable exploration is always tied to scientific exploration, discovery and commerce working together. They have always interlinked themselves and that is the common theme that what we presented to President Trump when he took office,” said Cook.
Government funding for the International Space Station program is scheduled to end in 2025, the same time NASA and private companies plan to land on Mars.
“Vice President Mike Pence is heading up the National Space Council and he is very enthusiastic about the space program.” Cook said it is interesting to see how Pence rolls up his sleeves, asks questions and starts delegating action items to four-star generals. Pence has also visited Mojave Air and Space Port.
“Exponential progress is expected in six to eight years, not 30; this is in our grasp,” said Cook as he explained timelines and showed photos of actual rocket boosters, launch pads and spacecraft that are already being tested. One company has built two SLS solid rocket boosters that weigh 1.6 million pounds and each booster generates 3.6 million pounds of thrust.