The South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) has invited Caris “Skip” Hatfield from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to deliver its 2007 Bernard Price Memorial lecture next week.
Skip Hatfield is the Project Manager at NASA on Project Orion, the new Crew Exploration Vehicle. The Orion project is part of NASA’s Constellation programme to send human explorers back to the moon and beyond.
Hatfield is responsible for the development, production and sustaining engineering of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, NASA’s next generation human space transportation vehicle.
Ian McKechnie, SAIEE president, says this year’s event will mark the 56th anniversary of the series of lectures instigated by the SAIEE, together with Wits University, to commemorate Dr Bernard Price – a renowned South African engineer who died in the late 1940’s and dedicated his life to engineering science.
“The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle will be able to carry crew and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) when the space shuttle fleet is retired in a few years time in 2010 and will also be the crew vehicle in the ‘Back to the Moon’ missions,” says McKechnie.
Hatfield boasts over 25 years experience in the aerospace industry. He has worked on various projects including the Freedom and International Space Station Programs.
Hatfield has received several awards for his project leadership, including nomination for the 2005 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award, the Space Flight Awareness Leadership Award and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.
McKechnie says a prime motivating factor in deciding on the choice of topic and speaker was to present a lecture not only with broad appeal but one which also represented visionary, exciting and cutting- edge engineering and technology.
“Our aim with this series is to motivate not only our membership but also people from all engineering disciplines, plus the public at large, to attend, due to the fascinating subject matter. Moreover, we specifically aim to capture the interest and imagination of young people. One of the strategic objectives of the SAIEE is to promote an interest in science, technology and engineering and attract young women and men into careers in these fields, particularly electrical engineering.
"With this backdrop, the Institute is enthused at the prospect of hosting Skip Hatfield and having him share NASA’s space exploration vision,” says McKechnie.
The multimedia lecture presentations will take place on Monday 8 October in East London, Port Elizabeth on 9 October, the main address on 10 October, in the Great Hall at Wits University in Johannesburg, in Durban on 11 October, and Cape Town on 12 October.
Entrance is free of charge, but booking is essential. Details of dates, times, venues and booking information, plus a synopsis of Skip Hatfield’s presentation, can be found on the SAIEE website at www.saiee.org.za.