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Drexel to Host Panel Discussion with Italian Space Agency and Astronaut Alumnus Paul Richards

Flying High from Helicopters to Space

March 18, 2013

Drexel University’s College of Engineering will host a panel discussion – Flying High from Helicopters to Space­ – focused on Italian and American excellence in the space and aerospace industries on March 20 in the Bossone Research Enterprise Center’s Mitchell Auditorium. The Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia is organizing the panel discussion at Drexel to celebrate 50 years of technological and scientific collaboration in the space and aerospace industries between Italy and the United States.

The round table participants will include Alicia Vitarelli, news anchor for 6abc (WPVI) Action News, as moderator; Paul Richards ’87 alumnus of mechanical engineering and mechanics – he served on the crew of mission STS-102 aboard Discovery in 2001, the 8th mission to visit the International Space Station; Roberto Vittori astronaut and member of the Italian Space Agency; and Mario Cosmo, technical director of the Italian Space Agency. Each of the participants will share the journeys of their careers with professors, researchers and students and discuss possible career opportunities in the space and aerospace fields.

In addition, William Hunt, CEO of AgustaWestland Philadelphia – a leader in the world’s most important helicopter markets – will open the conference with a keynote speech.

Space History
The first country to have launched a satellite into space was the USSR in 1957 with the Sputnik, followed by the United States Explorer the following year. Italy came 3rd in the 1960s conquest of space and the first in Western Europe. In December 1964, two years after the signing of the agreement on space cooperation between Italy and the United States, from the American base in Wallops Island a team of Italian engineers, headed by Luigi Broglio, launched the satellite “San Marco 1,” using a NASA “Scout” rocket. Thus, the Italian space program began.

Full Schedule of Events Opening Remarks: 10 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.
Dr. Bruce Eisenstein, Vice Dean College of Engineering

Welcome Remarks: 10:10 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Luigi SCOTTO, Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia
Consul Scotto will address the audience about the long-standing technological and scientific cooperation between Italy and the United States in space and aerospace industries.

Keynote speech: 10:20 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.
Mr. William Hunt, CEO, AgustaWestland Philadelphia
Westland is the first high tech Italian company ranked among the top 10 global players in aerospace, defense and security.

Panel discussion: 10:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
Alicia Vitarelli, news anchor for 6abc (WPVI) Action News and moderator of panel

Paul Richards, Astronaut (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

  • Engineering Education and Co-operative
  • Education Careers in the Space Industry
  • Return on Investment for the Space Industry

Roberto Vittori, Astronaut (ASI - Italian Space Agency)

  • The Italian Space Program since 1962
  • Launchers and Satellites
  • Manufacturing Processes and Engineering Solutions
  • SpaceX Model
  • Existing designs, projections and new perspectives of alternative
  • Architectures

Mario Cosmo, Technical Director (ASI - Italian Space Agency)

Q&A: 11.40 a.m. to noon  

Reception sponsored by AgustaWestland Philadelphia: Noon to 12:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.