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2016 Conference

Beyond the Horizon

Thursday, August 11, 2016
University of Wisconsin-Superior


The 26th annual Wisconsin Space Conference was held Aug. 11, 2016, at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The theme of the conference was “Beyond the Horizon.” 

The conference kicked off with breakfast and an opening keynote by Allen Bacskay, program manager for NASA’s Discovery, New Frontiers, and Solar System Exploration Programs. Throughout the day, attendees heard about NASA partnerships, student research, K-12 outreach, academic and industry research, and WSGC team projects. Attendees also enjoyed a poster and networking session and an awards ceremony. The conference closed with dinner and an evening keynote by Alice Bowman, Space Mission Operations Group Supervisor and New Horizons Mission Operations Manager.

Guests were invited to begin their conference early with a tour of the Cirrus Design Composite Airplane and Jet Factory on Aug. 10. 

Download the 2016 Conference Brochure

Opening Keynote Speaker: Allen Bacskay

Mr. Bacskay possesses more than 30 years of experience supporting NASA programs and projects in various roles and responsibilities. In his current position, Mr. Bacskay manages NASA’s Discovery, New Frontiers, and Solar System Exploration programs for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD). He manages the programs out of the Planetary Missions Program Office (PMPO) at the Marshall Space Flight Center. He previously served as the deputy program manager and assistant office manager for the Discovery and New Frontiers (D&NF) Program Office. Mr. Bacskay has also worked as the mission manager within the D&NF Program Office for the Dawn, MESSENGER, and New Horizons Missions.

Mr. Bacskay began his career at the Kennedy Space Center in 1983 as a fluid systems design engineer for EG&G Florida. He then relocated to the Marshall Space Flight Center, working for McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Corporation as a Thermal and Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLSS) Engineer for NASA’s Spacelab Program.

Mr. Bacskay came to work for NASA in 1987 and was named as the Spacelab Systems Thermal and ECLSS Chief Engineer in the early 1990s. In 1994, Mr. Bacskay was selected as the chief engineer for the First Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1) Spacelab Module Mission. Following the end of the Spacelab Program in the late 1990s, Mr. Bacskay transitioned to work as the project manager for the EXPRESS Pallet Project supporting the International Space Station Program. The EXPRESS Pallet was a bilateral venture between NASA and Brazilian Space Agency.

Mr. Bacskay received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alabama in 1983.

Evening Keynote Speaker: Alice Bowman

Ms. Bowman works for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where she is the Space Mission Operations Group Supervisor and the New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM). She supervises approximately 40 staff members who operate deep-space and Earth-orbiting spacecraft including TIMED, STEREO, New Horizons, the Van Allen Probes, and Solar Probe Plus. As the New Horizons MOM, Alice leads the team that commands and controls NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its voyage to Pluto and beyond.

Ms. Bowman has a degree in chemistry and physics from the University of Virginia-Charlottesville and has more than 27 years of experience in space operations.

For more information:

Contact the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium at or call 262-551-6054.

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