Daniels, NASA official to discuss human space exploration

February 13, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University President Mitch Daniels and NASA official William Gerstenmaier will discuss human space exploration on Feb. 23 during a public conversation.

The conversation on “Pathways to Space Exploration” will be from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. It will be free and open to the public.

As part of the conversation, Daniels and Gerstenmaier will address questions from Purdue College of Engineering faculty members relating to U.S. human space exploration, its rationales and approaches.

Gerstenmaier is associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. He provides strategic direction for all aspects of NASA's human exploration of space and cross-agency support functions of space communications and space launch vehicles.

He is involved in the operation and utilization of the International Space Station, development of the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft. He gives strategic guidance and direction to the commercial crew and cargo programs that will provide logistics and crew transportation for the International Space Station.

The conversation is a continuation of Daniels’ work on the National Academies of Science “Pathways to Human Space Exploration” report, which examined the goals of the U.S. human spaceflight program and offered recommendations for a sustainable program moving forward.

Daniels co-chaired the committee that produced the report and testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee about it.

Daniels leads a university that has a rich tradition in the U.S. space program. Purdue has had 23 graduates become astronauts, including the late Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, and Eugene Cernan, the most recent person to walk on the moon. Purdue graduates flew on Gemini and Apollo flights, 47 space shuttle missions and on the International Space Station.

More information on "Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration" can be found at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=18801.

 A transcript of Daniels’ testimony before the congressional committee can be found at


Media contact: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Source: Tom Shih, head and professor, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 765-494-3006, tomshih@purdue.edu 

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