Commentary | Future Space Activities Depend on Communication

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2014 marks a year filled with opportunities and challenges within the aerospace domain. Perhaps some of the challenges that constantly emerge in this area are born in response to bolder visions and unprecedented technical capabilities.

Despite the coagulation of hurdles that in part represent a core section of space exploration and exploitation, the motivational torches of space endeavors have constantly been burning for millenniums. Throughout centuries, the shimmering stars of the night sky have captivated the minds of mankind, making space a global subject. From childhood dreams to explorative missions onboard the international space station, one of the crucial instruments in enabling space exploration is indeed communication.

The transitional phases between kindergarten children conveying their interest in becoming astronauts and potentially reaching a professional life as an astronaut require a great deal of communication. Alongside technical, leadership and management skills, communication is an aptitude of increasing importance. Hence, it is fruitful to encourage communication skills among young learners, in addition to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capabilities.

International space activities like those at ISS place additional weight on these types of skills.

Most recently, traces of such skills were also observed in the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Space Exploration Conference Jan. 9 in Washington. Focusing on planetary robotic and human spaceflight exploration, this presummit conference of the IAA Heads of Space Agencies Summit on Exploration provided a multifaceted insight into future space activities. The debates and discussions that garnished the technical sessions provided yet another piece of evidence that communication is a key element in aerospace endeavors.

In recognition of NASA’s Top Management and Performance Challenges identified by the agency’s Office of Inspector General in December 2013, and a recent White House approval to extend the ISS by four years, the U.S. commitment to ISS and NASA is noteworthy. NASA’s visions have inspired generations and are likely to do so for generations to come.

In light of innovative projects aiming to unveil the secrets of the universe, embedding communication as a vital cluster in any aerospace endeavor is crucial. Communication of research findings and utilization of educational resources by means of communication serve as motivational mechanisms to inspire younger generations and to transcend the impossibilities of yesterday into the possibilities of tomorrow. Embracing communication is part of the multinational landscape of the new space era. Similarly, preparation of young learners for future space challenges is a necessity to create new marvels for the benefit of mankind.

 

Dr. Amir S. Gohardani is an aerospace manager, educator and advocate of STEM activities in Orange County, Calif. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not reflect the views of any entities or organizations with which he is affiliated.