The 2,498th Meeting of the Society

June 14, 2024 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Returning Humans to the Moon

How the United States Can Actually Get There Instead of Watching China Do It

Mike Griffin

LogiQ, Inc.

About the Lecture

On January 17th of this year (2024) the speaker testified before the House Science Committee, advising that the Artemis Program, NASA’s effort to return humans to the Moon, “is excessively complex, unrealistically priced, compromises crew safety, poses very high mission risk of completion and is highly unlikely to be completed in a timely manner even if successful . . . . We need to restart it.”

This lecture will discuss an alternative approach using two launches of the SLS Block 2 heavy-lift launch vehicle, one carrying a lunar lander and transfer stage and the other a crewed Orion spacecraft and transfer stage. The two would dock in low lunar orbit to transfer astronauts to the lander, spending a week on the surface before returning to Orion for the trip home. Relevant analysis supporting this architecture will be presented.

The speaker will also discuss the importance of human space exploration to national security as it relates to our ongoing competition with the Chinese Communist Party for primacy in the projection of global power and influence.

Selected Reading & Media References

About the Speaker

Michael D. Griffin is the Co-Founder and Co-President of LogiQ, Inc., a company providing high-end management, scientific, and technical consulting services. He was previously the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and in that role shared responsibility with the Deputy Under Secretary for research, development, and prototyping activities within the Department of Defense. In prior roles he was the Chairman and CEO of Schafer Corporation, the King-MacDonald Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Administrator of NASA, Space Department Head at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, President of In-Q-Tel, CEO of Magellan Systems, and EVP and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group.

Mike is the lead author on two dozen technical papers and the textbook Space Vehicle Design. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Maryland and California. And he is a Certified Flight Instructor with instrument and multiengine ratings.

Among other honors and awards, Mike is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He has received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal and the Goddard Astronautics Award, the National Space Club’s Goddard Trophy, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement, the Missile Defense Agency’s Ronald Reagan Award, and he has twice been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal. He also has been recognized with honorary doctoral degrees from Florida Southern College and the University of Notre Dame.

Mike has earned seven degrees: a BA in Physics at the Johns Hopkins University, an MSE in Aerospace Science at the Catholic University of America, a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, an MS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California, an MS in Applied Physics at the Johns Hopkins University, an MBA at Loyola University Maryland and an MS in Civil Engineering at the George Washington University.

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