Spaceflight Insider

NASA leaders visit Lockheed Martin in Littleton

Photo Credit: Jason Rhian / SpaceFlight Insider

On April 5, 2017, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot and other top agency officials visited Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado, to see progress on the various missions the company is working on.

The meeting occurred in conjunction with the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on April 3–6. NASA released photos of the meeting on its Flickr account.

NASA officials on the tour included the following:

  • Robert Lightfoot, acting NASA administrator
  • Lesa Roe, acting NASA deputy administrator
  • Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations
  • Al Condes, associate administrator for international and interagency relations
  • Art Maples, director of strategic partnerships in the Colorado region
  • Dennis Andrucyk, deputy associate administrator for science mission directorate
  • Jen Rae Wang, NASA associate administrator for the Office of Communications


Lightfoot visits Lockheed's immersive laboratory

Acting NASA Deputy Administrator Lesa Roe, left, and acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, center, visit Lockheed’s Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory, or CHIL, April 5, 2017. CHIL allows spacecraft design and manufacturing teams to collaborate before physically producing hardware. Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA


Lightfoot at Lockheed's CHIL

Another view of Lightfoot in Lockheed’s CHIL. Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA


Lesa Roe using a virtual reality headset

Acting NASA Deputy Administrator Lesa Roe uses a virtual reality headset while at Lockheed’s CHIL. Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA


Lightfoot views Mars 2020 hardware

Director of Space Exploration Systems at Lockheed Martin Guy Beutelschies, left, talks with acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot about the Mars 2020 rover heat shield. The shield in view was one of two built for the Curiosity rover mission. It was used as a test article for the Curiosity mission, but will now be used as the flight heat shield for Mars 2020. According to Lockheed, it has built every Mars heat shield and aeroshell for NASA since the Viking missions in 1976. Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA


Lightfoot in Lockheed's mission support area

Acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot visits Lockheed’s Mission Support Area during his visit. The Mission Support Area currently supports six robotic spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Juno, OSIRIS-REx and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA


A wide view of Lockheed's Mission Support Area during Lightfoot's visit

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, along with other NASA executives, visits Lockheed’s Mission Support Area. Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA




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Reader Comments

Rodger Raubach

My problem with NASA is evident in these pictures: Suits. Way too many suit-wearing, administrative types; each one collecting large salary. NASA used to be dominated by geeks, not administrators. When NASA was young, the enthusiasm was contagious. Now we see a band of administrators making a de rigueur plant visit inspect progress on the fattened cash cows of OldSpace. This is a direct result of issuing cost-plus contracts, which makes companies such as Lockheed Martin topheavy with mid level managers and accountants.

I have to agree with Roger, NASA has ossified into bureaucratic nightmare that has become a protective barrier-to-entry against more efficient space programs. Nonetheless, I might add that this is a normal path of devolution for government agencies, as easily calculable as a planetary orbit, and a major factor that should have been accounted for by any long-term program.

Hence, the pad weight calculations of many have been off by the mass of the invisible bureaucratic baggage they must carry, lol. However, there’s an imminent program which accounts for this extra mass, and is designed to carry it, for the benefit of all, which includes even the enormous volume of the suits. It’s able to do this because it isn’t a tourist or vanity program, and long ago accepted the unmentionable mission that others have remained willfully ignorant of, or shrugged off as impossible, which is to say feasibly retrieving the 5BMT (5,000,000,000 MT) of mass we’ll need to support our continued growth and development as a species, annually by 2050 or so. On such a bandwagon, carrying the additional weight of the suits becomes easy enough, and it’s specifically constructed to have plenty of room for an entire section that does nothing but stand and cheer us on, or for that matter, scowl ferociously, lol!

In closing, I’ll mention that it’s EASY to identify a problem, yet infinitely more difficult to resolve one to the satisfaction of all. I invite Roger, and the writers of SpaceFlight Insider, to contact me at dwight dot prouty @ astrilis dot com as I’d be happy to assist him with his problem, and them with a very timely news flash, lol.

I used to work in a lab where we had the same kind of VR junk for impressing visitors. Nobody actually used it.

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