The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration

New Perspectives on
Invention and Innovation

Moving Beyond Earth:
Innovations in Space

November 18-19, 2011
at the National Air and Space Museum


Touchdown: Closing Remarks
Saturday, November 19, 2011

Margaret Weitekamp, National Air and Space Museum

Margaret WeitekampIn her summary of the day's proceedings, Margaret Weitekamp talked about inherent tensions raised by the speakers. While some described the present as a time of denouement of tried-and-true technologies and methods, for example, others are spearheading dramatic and accelerating developments in new technologies. She noted today's changing dynamic between public and private, pointing to exciting directions in commercial spaceflight driven by incentives like international prizes and the needs of civilian and military markets, regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, and contracted by NASA. She pointed out questions about physiology and psychology, and about society and culture, that affect the future of human spaceflight, but remarked that the vision of human explorers remains strong and central to these discussions.

Margaret Weitekamp is a curator in the Division of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum.

Video of Weitekamp's complete talk »

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