January 12-16, 2017
Welcome to STS-2017, the space technology working meeting of the National Society of Black Engineers! Named in honor of the the Space Shuttle program, the Space Technology Session (STS) is a biennial working session and ski outing intended to help advance the space technology projects of the NSBE Space Special Interest Group and partnered NSBE Professionals chapters, particularly the NSBE Houston Space Professionals Chapter, based at NASA's Johnson Space Center, the NSBE Greenbelt Space Professionals Chapter, based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the NSBE Atlanta Professionals Chapter. It is in some ways analogous to a hackathon. The key difference is that at a hackathon the participants generally are gathered to perform software coding, while at the Space Technology Session participants are gathered to perform a variety of engineering functions in support of NSBE Space SIG technical projects. Essentially, it is a space engineering equivalent of a hackathon.
The debut Space Technology Session was held in January 2011 at the Colorado School of Mines, just outside Denver. This gathering of Black space industry professionals is a first of its kind meeting for NSBE and is a trailblazer in advancing NSBE's ability to serve as a focusing point to harness the innovative intellectual capacity and experience base of its membership and corporate partners to advance the US space industry. STS-2017 also advances a unique capability of NSBE. Select college students will be invited to attend STS-2017 and will work alongside some of the nation's leading rocket scientists to solve challenging engineering problems and develop new spacecraft architectures. This direct apprenticeship not only helps motivate young students to succeed in their matriculation, but also harnesses the energy and creativity of youth to enable NSBE Space to pursue innovations that may not have been fully pursued by government agencies or commercial industry.
The Space Technology Session is scheduled to occur during the MLK holiday because it represents the fulfillment of a directive given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with respect to our industry. At the 2010 NSBE Aerospace Systems Conference, Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols served as emcee for the Celestial Torch Awards Banquet and she spoke about how she had once considered quitting the cast. When Dr. King was made aware of her plans, he adamantly told her that she could not quit. He saw her character as an indispensable role model - essentially she was a living metaphor for what he was trying to achieve. The Space Technology Session comes full circle, demonstrating a body of African American space scientists and engineers living the real life equivalent of the role he admonished Nichelle to continue to portray. Each Space Technology Session serves as a living tribute to Dr. King and we invite you to take part.
STS-2017 is organized by the NSBE Houston Space Professionals Chapter on behalf of the NSBE Space Special Interest Group with logistical support provided by members of the NSBE Denver Professionals Chapter.