Bringing up Space Experts

To combat the “aging out” of space expertise, Lockheed Martin is taking proactive steps to train the next generation of space experts. Fifty percent of Lockheed’s hires each year are new college graduates. James Crocker, Lockheed’s vice president of civil space, told reporters Friday that the company would like new hires to have 50 years of experience but knows it has to develop a “young trained cadre” of scientists. Lockheed has developed a program called “Storefront,” which transfers funds to universities, allowing science and engineering students the opportunity to work on real space programs while still in school. Kenneth Reightler, Lockheed’s vice president of space operations, noted that a remarkable 80 percent of the company’s space exploration summer interns return to work for the company. DOD also is in the S&E scholarship business and Air Force Materiel Command, in particular, is sending its current S&E professionals out to visit schools, trying to interest young people early.