The Emergence of NEWSPACE: The Impact on the Space Industry and the Next Generation of Engineers

Human spaceflight began in 1961 as a Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. Today, fifty-five years later, only 550+ citizens of Earth have ventured into space as human spaceflight remains the providence of large government sponsored programs. But likely not for long! In recent years private investors, start-up companies and technology innovators began the process of disrupting the space industry as they aimed to reimagine the space paradigm with faster innovation and new technologies. The goal of this NewSpace industry is to bring down the cost of spaceflight and open up space not just for professionals but to all space enthusiasts.

Mr. Dicht’s presentation, incorporating his own experiences, will trace the history of human spaceflight from its earliest days until today, with an emphasis on the emergence of NewSpace and the impact it has had not only on the government sponsored programs and the legacy space industry; but on the imagination of the public. Mr. Dicht will explore the potential for NewSpace and the opportunities it offers for the next generation of engineers. Mr. Dicht will close with suggestions for how students and young professionals can position themselves for careers in NewSpace.

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About Burton Dicht

Burton Dicht joined IEEE in 2011 and serves as the Director of University Programs where he oversees IEEE’s engineering education accreditation efforts and is responsible for the development and implementation of programs for faculty and students. Before joining IEEE, Mr. Dicht was the Managing Director of ASME’s Knowledge and Community Sector.

Mr. Dicht began his career in the aerospace industry in 1982 and held the position as a lead engineer for Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Space Transportation Systems Division. Specializing in systems and configuration integration, he worked on programs such as the YF-23A Advanced Tactical Fighter and the Space Shuttle. Mr. Dicht also completed NASA’s Summer Employment Training Program at the Kennedy Space Center in 1980.

Mr. Dicht is a member of IEEE, AIAA and is an ASME Fellow. Mr. Dicht received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University and an M.A. in History from California State University, Northridge. Mr. Dicht has authored numerous articles on aerospace history and is a frequent guest speaker on space topics. Mr. Dicht is an Exhibit Explainer for the Intrepid Museum in NYC, a 1st Lt and Aerospace Education Officer for Civil Air Patrol and a Board Member of the National Space Society.