Key industry players to attend defense and space conference

By Dan Catchpole Herald Writer

The speakers’ lineup for the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance’s Defense, Space &Security Conference this fall in Seattle include executives from two of three companies competing to ferry NASA astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.

The Oct. 8 conference’s keynote speaker is Mark Sirangelo of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Space Systems.

Sierra Nevada Corp. is vying with the Boeing Co. and SpaceX for NASA contracts to provide reliable transportation to the space station and to put objects into low Earth orbit. Brandon Pearce of SpaceX will also be speaking at the conference in Seattle.

NASA ended the Space Shuttle program in 2011 and has been paying Russia’s space program for rides since. The federal agency is expected to award one or more contracts by the end of the year.

“Mark Sirangelo’s participation demonstrates the caliber of information attendees can expect to hear at this conference,” said PNAA Executive Director Bob Uptagrafft.

Conference speakers will talk about new business opportunities and challenges created by defense budget cuts and extended service time for legacy aircraft. Other topics to be covered during the one-day event include defense, space and drone market trends, new supply chain opportunities, and cyber security issues.

“As governments around the globe reconfigure budgets to match new defense and security postures and new factors threaten to affect international space programs, supply chain opportunities are changing rapidly,” said Melanie Jordan, PNAA’s chief operating officer.

“PNAA is assembling an unrivaled lineup of industry experts to explain how these changes will impact regional businesses,” she said.

Jim Eisenhart, a top executive for Boeing’s KC-46 program, will also take the stage.

Other speakers include Janicki Industries head John Janicki; Cascade Aerospace CEO Benjamin Boehm; and Planetary Resources Vice President of Space Development Chris Voorhees.

Michel Merluzeau, aerospace analyst and G2 Solutions CEO, and Alex Pietsch, the state’s top aerospace adviser, will also speak.

The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

For more information, visit PNAA’s website: pnaa.net.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.