Danielle Wood will speak on a panel at MIT's SpaceTech 2022, hosted by the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and part of the events that comprise the 2022 MIT Space Week. SpaceTech 2022 is the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's technically-oriented, future-looking event designed to build awareness around the present and future of space technology. This year's conference will feature remarks from expert guests from NASA, the U.S. Space Force, SpaceX, Blue Origin, JPL, the Aerospace Corporation, and the Boston Consulting Group. It will also include student participants from the AeroAstro Department's Aerospace Innovation Initiative as they pitch their space technology concepts as part of the Aerospace 10k Pitchfest Competition.
1:40pm-2:30pm - Panel Participants
Prof. Danielle Wood - Prof. Danielle Wood serves as an Assistant Professor in the Program in Media Arts & Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Wood serves at MIT as the Faculty Lead for African and African Diaspora Studies. Within the Media Lab, Prof. Wood leads the Space Enabled research group which seeks to advance justice in Earth's complex systems using designs enabled by space. Prof. Wood's background includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. Prior to serving as faculty at MIT, Professor Wood held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs.
Nicholas Cummings - As the Director of Advanced Development for Civil Space at SpaceX, Mr. Cummings is responsible for the development of new missions and programs for NASA and other civilian space customers, including leading SpaceX’s successful new efforts in support of NASA’s Human Landing System and Gateway Logistics Programs. Prior to joining SpaceX in early 2019, he served under Senator Bill Nelson as the Staff Director for the Space and Science Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, overseeing policy development for civil space, national security space, commercial space, science, and technology. Prior to his time in the Senate, Mr. Cummings worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in avariety of engineering and leadership roles. He began his career integrating and processing International Space Station Elements and other Space Shuttle payloads and later led development of operations approaches and launch site architectures for NASA’s exploration programs and emerging commercial space partnerships.
Sita Sonty - Sita Sonty serves as the Partner and Associate Director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Washington, DC. Sreelakshmi Sita Sonty (Sita) joined BCG from SpaceX as Head of Human Spaceflight Sales and before that, Sierra Nevada Corporation, serving as their Vice President for International Business, International. Additionally, Sonty spent parts of her career at the U.S. Department of State and served as Director for Foreign Policy and National Security at Raytheon International. Prior to her time at Raytheon, Sita amassed over fifteen years of service as a Foreign Service Officer in Cairo, Baghdad, Tripoli, Zagreb, and brief stints in Beirut and Islamabad. Sita serves as Executive Board Member for Women in Aerospace, The Johns Hopkins University’s Alumni Association, the Washington Leadership Program, and served as Co-Chair of the Defense and Security Working Group for the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).
Dr. Debra Emmons - Dr. Debra L. Emmons is vice president and chief technology officer at The Aerospace Corporation. Before joining Aerospace in 2003 as a project engineer, Emmons worked at Hughes Space and Communications Company as a system engineering project manager on commercial telecommunications satellite development. An experienced aerospace leader with technical, management, and industry experience in the acquisition and development of advanced technology space systems, Emmons has more than 25 years of experience in systems engineering, technical and risk analysis, program management, and communications systems. She was a principal contributor on several key high-level studies and assessments that have informed strategic decisionmaking within the government.