Bruce Pitman

BRUCE PITTMAN, Chief Systems Engineer at the NASA Ames Space Portal San Francisco, USA

Bruce Pittman has been at the forefront of Commercial Space Development for public benefit for over 30 years. In 2013, for his exceptional lifelong contributions, he was awarded one of NASA’s highest honor: The NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal.

Currently, he is also a Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer of the National Space Society (space advocacy organization with over 8000 members throughout the United States and around the world) and Chair of the AIAA Commercial Space Group.

Pittman was a member of the startup team for the SpaceHab Space Research Laboratory, the first commercial endeavor on a manned space vehicle. SpaceHab flew on 17 Space Shuttle missions, realized over $1B in contracted sales, and opened the door for a wide range of research in basic science, life sciences, materials sciences, educational projects, and commercial applications.

Some of the major clients that Bruce has worked with include: Align Technologies, Agile Software, Boeing, Behring Diagnostic, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Varian, Cepheid, Texas Instruments, Westinghouse as well as government agencies such as NASA and DOE.

Mr. Pittman was instrumental in the initiation and development of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) concept which was announced to the public in 2006. The value of this approach was spectacularly demonstrated by SpaceX in 2010 with its successful orbital flight and landing of the Dragon capsule. Pittman also led the In-Space Fuel Depot analysis for the Human Exploration Framework Team that offered a more cost-effective and nearer term option for implementing the Flexible Path approach recommended by the Augustine Committee, while providing significant benefits towards the development of a more robust commercial space industry in the U.S.

Bruce co-developed the Space 2.0 and Space-Rush, concepts for infrastructure based exploration that promotes and amplifies public participation in the exploration and development of space.

At NASA Ames he has worked on a number of space projects including Pioneer Venus, the Infrared Astronomy Satellite, the Cryogenic Grating Spectrometer, Space Station Freedom (precursor to the International Space Station), the Large Deployable Reflector and several advanced studies programs. As a NASA contractor Mr. Pittman has worked on such pioneering projects as the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, ISS Commercialization, High Speed Civil Transport, the Space Exploration Initiative and the Space Shuttle Processing.

In 2014 Pittman was the lead author on a paper, “Lunar Station: The Next Logical Step in Space Development”, that was presented at the International Astronautical Congress in Toronto, Canada. In August 2014, Pittman helped organize the Low-Cost Strategies for Lunar Settlement Workshop that was held at the venture capital firm, DFJ, in Silicon Valley.

Mr. Pittman has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Davis and a MS in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University. He has authored over 40 papers and articles on technical and management topics in aerospace and high technology.

While working at NASA, he was awarded two Superior Achievement Awards and two Group Achievement Awards.

Photo Credits: NASA Ames

Hear Bruce speak:

October 21st, Monday, 9:30am-10:30am Keynote “Space Entrepreneurship: Great new Markets and Opportunities and why is now the right time to be Space Entrepreneur”

October 21st, Monday, 10:30am-11:30am Panel 1: The Future of Space Exploration and its influence on life on Earth

October 22nd, Tuesday, 4:00pm-5:00pm Panel 7: Hardware, Robotics and Electronics for Space and Earth Innovations

Get your tickets now:

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At the International Space Development Conference ® with Buzz Aldrin and Jeff Bezos

With Alfred Merrill “Al” Worden – the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971

With the SpaceHab module – the company Bruce helped start in the 1980’s

Company details:

NASA’s Ames Research Center, one of ten NASA field centers, is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. For more than 75 years (since 1939), Ames has led NASA in conducting world-class research and development in aeronautics, exploration technology and science aligned with the center’s core capabilities.

Ames Key Goals:
  • Maintain expertise in information technology, aerospace and aeronautics research and engineering.
  • Conduct research in Space, Earth, Lunar and Biological sciences.
  • Develop lead status for NASA in small spacecraft missions.
  • Expand public and private partnerships.
  • Contribute innovative, high performance and reliable exploration technologies

In the decades since the Apollo Lunar landings the world has changed tremendously, but the promise of a robust commercial space economy is only now starting to be realized.

“Congress declares that the general welfare of the United States requires that the Administration seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.” – NASA Act

Since 2005, the NASA Space Portal office provides a “friendly front door to space,” and seeks to demonstrate and support more effective and flexible mechanisms for industry, academia, and government collaboration. Space Portal pursue partnerships in: commercial cislunar, commercial microgravity and deep space industrialization.