Q: I am currently on a project team and we are meeting regularly to work on our project. Why should I attend STS-2017?
A: STS was established in order to enhance project performance beyond what is possible in the regular project meetings. Many of our project teams only meet a few times a month and in most cases they meet by phone. Even the hardware projects only have a few hours of contact each month. That creates an inherent inefficiency that we cannot avoid during the year. STS lets us gather in once place and put in several days of focused work. We are able to accomplish an amazing amount, but in order to do so we need you there. It also allows people who cannot regularly be part of your team to take part. Further, it allows you to see the big picture by getting to know the project teams other than the one you work on.
Q: I have never been on a Space SIG project team and I may not be able to commit to one after STS-2017. Is STS for me or is it just for people who are already working on these projects?
A: STS is definitely for you! A project team at STS is composed of BOTH people who have been working on the project and new people, including ones who never heard of the project before and will only be working on it that one weekend. The idea allows us to achieve several effects. First, it is a great way to inject new ideas into a project. If only the same people work on the project some ideas can get stale and the team can shift into a closed-minded routine and fail to see new approaches. A new person can trigger ideas that would never have otherwise occurred. Also, it is a great way for someone who is unfamiliar with a project to jump in and learn what it is about. Such a person might decide at the end of the conference that he/she wants to continue working with the project, or might go onto something different. Either way is fine and it allows us to experience variety and stimulate innovative thought.
Q: I am a member of the NSBE Aerospace Systems Conference planning team and I don’t have time to be both a planning team member and a project team member. Why should I come to STS-2017 if I already know that I can’t be a permanent part of the project team?
A: That is exactly why you should come. For one weekend you can put down your ASC duties and experience a different side of the Space SIG. We never want people to feel pigeonholed like there is only one thing they can do in NSBE Space. STS allows people to get up close and personal with a technical project in a significant way and make a valuable contribution even if that STS weekend is the only time they can work on it. Attend, have fun working on the project, and when the weekend is over go back to ASC conference planning. Who knows, you may even join a project team after the 2018 ASC is over. Also, one of the purposes of ASC is to promote the technical work of the Space SIG. Attending STS and working on a project team gives you a much deeper sense of what you are organizing ASC to promote.
Q: I’m not even a member of NSBE. Why should I come to STS-2017?
A: If you are interested in the mission of NSBE and the mission and purpose of the NSBE Space SIG, you should still come to STS-2017. NSBE membership is not required to attend and participate. In fact, STS-2017 is a great way for non-members to become introduced to NSBE. There is no obligation to participate in any way after the meeting is over. So feel free to come, check it out, and then decide whether you wish to continue what you experienced or not.
Q: I think the Space SIG is doing really cool work, but I don’t work in the space industry. Can I come to STS-2017?
A: Absolutely! You are right, we are doing some of the most exciting work in the space industry. Some of our projects are even providing data that NASA projects are interested in. However, if you come to STS-2017 we will need to correct one thing in your statement. At that point you will have worked in the space industry. It may be volunteer work and it may only last for a few days, but you will have an opportunity to dive into the same spacecraft engineering that members of America’s civil and corporate space communities work with every day. Part of our mission is to bring space to the community and STS allows everyone to have a moment where they are engaged first hand in the adventure of exploring and developing outer space.
Q: Why did the Space SIG come up with STS for this event?
A: Many NASA employees and other space aficionados will recognize STS as an acronym that once stood for Space Transportation System, the name of the program that the space shuttle came from. When the Space SIG was identifying the need for this working meeting, NASA was in the process of cancelling the shuttle program. We decided to choose a name that shared the acronym STS as a way of also showing tribute to the space shuttle. Many of the Generation X and Y engineers were inspired not only by Nichelle Nichols' Lieutenant Uhura (who remained on the show because of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), but also the prevalence of the NASA space shuttle. So both the name and the timing of this working meeting pay honor to key sources of inspiration that led us into the space industry.
Q: What ground transportation options exist to get from the airport to the STS-2017 location?
A: Ground transportation is definitely one of the most challenging aspects of STS. The city of Denver does not have a comprehensive Metro rail system like Washington DC or New York. The simplest solution is to call Uber or a cab, but the distance between the Denver airport and the hotel is extreme (opposite ends of the city) so this option is likely too expensive for many. Many STS attendees choose to rent a car. It is possible to use a combination of public transit systems between the cities of Denver and Golden, which is likely both the least expensive and most complicated option. The following websites identify options you may wish to choose from: