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Green Engineering Masters ForumThe Green Engineering Master’s Forum was held in San Francisco, Calif. September 30 through October 2, 2009. The Forum was a collaboration between NASA’s Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership and the Environmental Management Division. It represented a means for NASA to bring together innovative practitioners and visionary leaders to investigate, examine, and discuss system development methods, practices, and philosophies that can be leveraged to reduce environmental impacts and associated health risks of systems, processes, and hardware used to support NASAs mission. The Forum also provided for a discussion of new and emerging technologies and approaches that will enhance NASA’s mission and continue to improve the quality of life on Earth.

NASA has been an international leader in Earth sciences since its inception. The Agency’s understanding of the importance of this work has matured ever since Apollo 8’s amazing Earthrise image allowed us to first see our precious planet from space, and the ‘Earth Movement’ — ‘living green’ — has become an international imperative. While we continue to contribute to scientific understanding of the many complex forces that contribute to climate change, global leaders are crafting new policies to respond to these concerns. While anticipating and ensuring compliance with these new requirements, NASA also has a unique opportunity to become an international leader in the application of green engineering to aerospace programs and projects, allowing us to continue exploration in a manner that is environmentally responsible and benefits humankind. This is The Green Frontier, and it was the purpose and theme of this Forum.


Ted Biess, NASA Headquarters Douglas A. Craig, NASA Headquarters Arline Denny, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Olga M. Dominguez, NASA Headquarters Dean Dunn, Dept. of Defense
Eric Eichinger, Boeing Alan H. Epstein, Pratt & Whitney Chuck Griffin, Kennedy Space Center Benjamin L. Henrie, Marshall Space Flight Center Ed Hoffman NASA Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership
Nicholas L. Johnson, Johnson Space Center James Leatherwood, NASA Headquarters Sean McGinnis, Virginia Tech Nathalie Meusy, European Space Agency Brian F. Nattrass, Sustainability Partners, Inc.
Jeffrey D. Smith, Ames Research Center Ron Ticker, NASA Headquarters Jeffrey Wong, California Department of Toxic Substances Control Julie Zimmerman, Yale University



Vision: Green Engineering Is the Coolest Thing

Speaker — James Leatherwood, director of NASA’s Environmental Management Division at NASA Headquarters, holds more than twenty-five years of national and international environmental experience. His focus at NASA has been on enabling mission success through sustainability, and his diverse background includes environmental engineering and scientific research, state and national environmental policy, and ecological restoration. Mr. Leatherwood came to NASA from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Headquarters, where he was director of their Environmental Program.Abstract — The unfunded costs associated with the release of hazardous materials from past NASA mission activities are approximately $1 billion. This, in addition to ever increasing compliance requirements, continuously erodes NASA’s budget and results in fewer resources available for mission activities. Furthermore, sites at NASA Centers requiring cleanup may become unavailable to support, or otherwise limit, new mission activities. The goals of green engineering are to incorporate decision and design to reduce the use of toxic chemicals and their effects on people and the environment, and in that process foster innovation, reduce waste, and create sustainable space systems that will be critical for successful long-term space exploration and for improving life on Earth.

Presentation — Pollution & Ecological Disaster (PDF)

Importance of Green Engineering and Technology for the Obama Administration

Abstract — The new Administration is focused on science and technology to promote economic growth, protect the environment, improve the population’s health, and safeguard national security. These goals were included in a memo sent to all heads of executive departments and agencies, directing them to focus their FY2011 budget submissions on efforts that would build on the science and technology priorities identified in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition to helping drive economic recovery and growth, President Obama advocated in a March 2009 speech2 that America should become a leading exporter of renewable energy and help reduce the human impact on climate change. To achieve this, the President and Congress have outline three guiding principles:

  • Invest in clean energy jobs of the future.
  • Secure our energy future.
  • Close the carbon loophole and crack down on polluters.

Meeting these challenges will require increasing the productivity of U.S. research institutions; strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; and improving and protecting information, communication, and transportation infrastructure. It will also mean enhancing capabilities in space, which are essential for communications, Earth observation, and “increasing our understanding of the universe and our place in it.”


  • Peter R. Orzag and John P. Holdren, Science and Technology Priorities for the FY2011 Budget, memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, August 4, 2009.
  • The White House, Energy and Environment, accessed September 2, 2009.
NASA's Global Green Challenge

Speaker — As vice president of technology and environment at Pratt & Whitney, Alan H. Epstein is responsible for setting the direction for and coordinating technology across the company as it applies to product performance and environmental impact. He leads Pratt & Whitney’s efforts to identify and evaluate new methods to improve engine performance and fuel efficiency for all new products. He also provides strategic leadership in the investment, development, and incorporation of technologies that reduce the environmental impact of Pratt & Whitney’s worldwide products and services. This includes responsibility for validating Pratt & Whitney’s technology and environmental strategy with customers, industry representatives, and government and international agencies.Abstract — NASA has been in the forefront of aviation and the environment since the introduction of commercial jet travel exacerbated the aviation noise problem in the late 1950s. Recently, climate change has been added to noise and local air quality as concerns for aviation. NASA is uniquely positioned to exhibit worldwide leadership in addressing aviation and the environment given its deep expertise in climate science, earth observation, aircraft and engine engineering, and flight operations. We will examine the environmental challenges facing NASA and explore how innovative approaches can bring value to the nation.

Presentation — NASA’s Global Green Challenge (PDF)

The Big 'Green' Picture


  • Olga M. Dominguez became the assistant administrator for NASA’s Office of Infrastructure and Administration on June 26, 2006, and is stationed at NASA Headquarters. She leads the Agency infrastructure policy efforts and the integration of infrastructure issues in support of accomplishing NASA’s science, aeronautics, space operations, and exploration missions.
  • Paul Anastas has been called the “Father of Green Chemistry” and is recognized nationally and internationally for his contributions to science and the environment. He has recently been nominated by President Obama to serve as the assistant administrator for Research and Development in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and he is currently the director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University. He has previously served as the assistant director for environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and Chief of the Industrial Chemistry Branch in EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances.
  • Jeffrey Wong is the chief scientist for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento, Calif. For more than twenty years, he has managed DTSC’s efforts in the areas of environmental measurements, biological and exposure monitoring, toxicology and risk assessment, and pollution prevention approaches and technologies.

Abstract — As environmental regulations, water scarcity, demands on nonrenewable energy, public environmental and health concerns, and resource scarcity continue to increase, NASA and other organizations need to reevaluate their business practices. Visionary leaders and organizations have already begun to identify potential effects and opportunities associated with these trends, integrating new goals within their strategic planning and day-to-day operations and fostering the culture changes required to meet these new challenges. By reducing costs associated with regulation, litigation, cleanup, and remediation, organizations have more resources available and can facilitate the creation of a safer, healthier, and ‘greener’ culture. The panelists have experience as government leaders in green chemistry, development of environmental policy, strategic planning for large organizations, and facilitating culture change. Some of the topics they will examine include the following:

  • How federal and state leadership have developed and fostered strategies, policies, and implementation plans to move larger organizations toward more sustainable, energy efficient, environmentally friendly practices.
  • How external requirements, in the form of statutes, regulation, and Executive Orders, can lead to new opportunities.
  • How green engineering and green chemistry have been successfully integrated within the strategies of large organizations to foster innovative research and business practices.


Space Systems Pollution Prevention

Speaker — Dean A. Dunn is the Orion and Space Exploration team chief for Defense Contract Management Agency (Dept. of Defense) in Denver, Colo. He has been a career Department of Defense civil servant for the past twenty-seven years. Prior to his current assignment, he was program manager for National Aerospace Program Hypersonic Engine Development and Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Stage II propulsion system; chief engineer at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base; and project engineer for Air Force One.Abstract — The military and civilian space programs face many of the same environmental challenges for executing our nation’s space program. NASA and the Department of Defense continue to collaborate on pollution-prevention initiatives to meet current environmental regulations and to reduce the effects that incorporating green technology into existing processes could have on programs. This presentation will provide an update on these collective efforts.

Presentation — Space Systems Pollution Prevention (PDF)

Current NASA Activities Involving Green Engineering and Green Technology


  • Fayette S. Collier, Jr., NASA Langley Research Center, is currently the project manager of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation project of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. He is responsible for formulation and startup of this new $300 million project, the first new start for NASA aeronautics in more than a decade.
  • Jack Kaye currently serves as associate director for Research of the Earth Science Division within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He has been a member of the Senior Executive Service since August, 1999, managing NASA’s Earth Science Research Program. Earlier positions in his nearly twenty-four-year career at NASA include being a space scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center and manager of the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling and Analysis Program at NASA Headquarters.
  • Ron Ticker is the space station manager for development at NASA Headquarters and works with senior NASA management to ensure space station development milestones are completed as required. He has been involved with numerous development activities, including regenerative environmental control and life-support systems, habitability upgrades, logistics carriers, and robotics.
  • Douglas A. Craig is the manager of strategic analyses for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate’s Directorate Integration Office at NASA Headquarters. In 1990, he joined NASA at the Kennedy Space Center to work as a Space Shuttle ground processing systems engineer. In 1996, he was moved to Langley Research Center to aid in the establishment of the Independent Program Assessment Office for the NASA Chief Engineer.

Abstract — Green engineering practices are not new to NASA. Since the 1960s, the agency has developed technologies that optimize energy efficiency, use renewable energy, recycle water, and protect air quality to enable humans to live and work in space. For more than thirty years, NASA has used space-based capabilities to help improve life on Earth in areas such as weather forecasting, forest fire tracking, monitoring and predicting natural disasters, and identifying and mapping resources. Improved aircraft safety and efficiency has also resulted from NASA research and technology. Today, NASA continues its legacy, improving life on Earth while exploring space, with opportunities to develop new expertise and exercise global leadership in the emerging discipline of green engineering.

The panelists, each having served in key leadership positions in their mission directorates, will share their unique experiences in the ongoing projects, research, and activities that help NASA reduce its impact on the environment and associated health risks of the systems, processes, and hardware that support the agency’s mission and vision. This panel will also discuss new and emerging NASA technologies that will continue to improve the quality of life on Earth and address public concerns about the health of the planet and public safety.


Environmental Sustainability in the European Space Agency

Speaker — Nathalie Meusy is head of the Coordination Office on Sustainable Development in the Directorate of Resources Management and Industrial Matters at the European Space Agency (ESA) since its creation in November 2008. Prior to the creation of this office, she launched the sustainable development initiative at ESA in 2007. She studied law and social sciences at Paris University and started her career in journalism (Magnum Photos Agency). Thereafter, Ms. Meusy joined ESA in 1987 as a lawyer/administrator in the human resources department. She is well aware of HR issues in the space sector and worked for all ESA establishments in a support division, where she held the post of head of social policies for fifteen years.Abstract — Sustainable development is not new at the European Space Agency (ESA). It is part of the core business in the agency’s activities and programs. In order to cover all dimensions of sustainable development (also called “corporate social responsibility”), ESA recently create an office to coordinate and report on all initiatives and activities that relate to sustainability, whether technical or not. This presentation will outline the purpose and content of this new corporate function and will also focus on special issues such as sustainability of ESA operations, including environmental management on site, eco-design within programs, and risk mitigation of material and process obsolescence resulting from legislative or economical changes.

Presentation — Environmental Sustainability in the European Space Agency (PDF)

Addressing the Orbital Debris Challenge Through Green Engineering and Operations

Speaker — As NASA chief scientist for Orbital Debris at Johnson Space Center since 1997, Nicholas L. Johnson serves as the agency authority in the field of orbital debris, including all aspects of environment definition, present and future, and the operational and design implications of the environment to both manned and robotic space vehicles operating in Earth orbit. He is responsible for conceiving and conducting research to define the orbital debris environment, for determining operational techniques for spacecraft to protect themselves from the environment, and for recommending techniques to minimize the growth in the future orbital debris environment.Abstract — The near-Earth space environment is becoming increasingly cluttered with hazardous man-made debris. The collision between an operational Iridium spacecraft and a derelict Russian spacecraft in February 2009, which in turn generated hundreds of thousands of additional hazardous debris, highlighted the need for effective orbital debris mitigation measures. For thirty years the NASA orbital debris program has led both national and international efforts to characterize the threat posed by orbital debris and to develop engineering solutions and policies to curtail its growth. Ultimately, remediation of the environment will likely be needed.

Presentation — Preserving the Near-Earth Space Environment with Green Engineering and Operations (PDF)

A Look Outside NASA: Green Engineering and Sustainable Operations


  • Sean McGinnis has been the director of the Green Engineering Program and a senior research scientist at Virginia Tech since 2005. He has undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and materials science from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in materials science and engineering from Stanford University. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. McGinnis worked in industry for ten years as a research and development scientist.
  • Julie Zimmerman is an assistant professor jointly appointed to the Department of Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering Program, and the School of Forestry and Environment at Yale University. She is also a visiting professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include green engineering, environmentally benign design and manufacturing, and the fate and impacts of anthropogenic compounds in the environment as well as appropriate water treatment technologies for the developing world.
  • Arline Denny manages the F-22 Hazardous Materials Program for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. This program is the first to proactively integrate hazardous materials and pollution prevention requirements in the design and fielding of a major air force weapon system. Ms. Denny has shared F-22 sustainability lessons learned as an invited guest speaker and presenter at numerous conferences, sponsored by NASA, the Department of Defense, industry, AIA, SAE, and Lockheed Martin.

Abstract — Smart companies are anticipating the trend for greener systems, products, and services, integrating environmental considerations into their strategies and day-to-day activities to enhance system performance, reduce development and operational risks, and build better reputations with the public. Universities also recognize the need to develop the next generation of engineers and scientists to meet future environmental challenges facing industry and government.

But stringent performance requirements can make it difficult or impossible to integrate new environmental considerations and technologies because systems, products, or services must still perform and meet organizational needs. This panel will examine how green engineering principles have been used and applied to research projects as well as to the operation and maintenance of complex systems, such as an F-22. The panel members will also examine how their organizational cultures facilitated (or stymied) the integration of green engineering concepts and methodologies.


Unique Capabilities and Expertise: Going Green Within NASA


  • Gail Murphree Grafton has been involved for more than twenty years with human space flight materials and processes. As a senior project scientist with CH2M HILL, she provides technical expertise and leadership supporting NASA’s Principal Center for Regulatory Risk Analysis and Communication (RRAC PC).
  • Chuck Griffin has thirty-seven years with NASA and has held numerous positions within the Design Engineering Directorate at Kennedy Space Center. He is currently the Technology Evaluation for Environmental Risk Mitigation (TEERM) manager, responsible for coordinating across NASA and with other government agencies, commercial firms, and international partners to identify, demonstrate, and validate new or emerging technology solutions that mitigate mission risk due to environmental policies and hazardous materials concerns.
  • Eric Eichinger is the manager of the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at Boeing’s C3 Networks site in Huntington Beach, Calif. In addition to managing the laboratory, he oversees material and process substitution efforts, which are motivated by environmental compliance.
  • Benjamin L. Henrie is the technical lead for the material and processing technology information system (MAPTIS) at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. MAPTIS is a large information system charged with collecting and disturbing materials information to the NASA community. Recently MAPTIS was selected by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to develop and host a similar information system for ARL.

Abstract — Systems designed for extended operations — such as space transportation systems, launch vehicles, and their related support equipment — experience a host of environmental risks caused by the interaction between several factors, including vendor economics, natural disaster, technology advances, safety hazards, and environmental regulations. NASA has experienced may of these risks for the duration of the Space Shuttle program, and it will continue to experience these issues with new systems, such as the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

To provide an integrated, proactive approach for the Space Shuttle program to manage environmentally driven risks, NASA created the Shuttle Environmental Assurance (SEA) team in the early 1990s. To assist SEA and other NASA programs, additional teams formed to track and report changes in environmental regulations and to evaluate material and process substitutions, such as finding replacements for ozone-depleting substances used in foam for the shuttle’s external tank.

Currently, efforts are under way to enhance NASA material databases used for spacecraft design, like MAPTIS, to increase awareness of potential restrictions for use and human health risks associated with certain materials. This will reduce the need for costly and time-consuming design changes and materials replacement during a system’s operation and maintenance phases. NASA can leverage this expertise and unique capabilities to develop and operate greener systems now and in the future. The panelists include key leaders who ensured continued operation of the Space Shuttle program and other NASA programs by identifying and solving problems that had environmental root causes.


Green Project Management: The Green Lean Team

Speaker — Brian F. Nattrass is managing partner of Sustainability Partners, Inc., one of North America’s leading sustainability consultancies. He has been responsible for designing and helping to deliver dozens of sustainability programs for large, complex global organizations such as Nike, Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Target, Nordstrom, VF Corp, and many others. Since 2002, Dr. Nattrass and his wife, Mary, have been the senior advisors on sustainability strategy and implementation to the U.S. Army, where they have created and delivered an intensive five-day course on sustainability for senior military officers at the U.S. Army War College.Abstract — The management of projects designed to embody sustainability principles requires a different orientation than most conventional, non-sustainable projects. Effective sustainability integration uses both the technique of ‘backcasting’ from a desired, future sustainable end state and science-based principles of sustainability to provide the project team with guidelines and boundaries for their actions. This presentation will examine an approach to the management of project sustainability successfully adopted by the U.S. Army and many large, complex, global corporations.

Presentation — Green Project Management: 5 Key Success Factors (PDF)

How NASA Learns, Green Engineering Forum Key Lessons, and the Way Forward


  • Edward Hoffman, Director of the NASA Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership, is responsible for the development of program and project leaders and teams within NASA, including the development of a comprehensive program and project management training curriculum, consulting services for project management teams, lessons learned, knowledge capture, and research and special studies on program and project management. He works both within NASA and externally with leaders of industry, academia, and other government agencies to enhance capabilities in program and project management.
  • James Leatherwood, director of NASA’s Environmental Management Division at NASA Headquarters, holds more than twenty-five years of national and international environmental experience. His focus at NASA has been on enabling mission success through sustainability, and his diverse background includes environmental engineering and scientific research, state and national environmental policy, and ecological restoration. Mr. Leatherwood came to NASA from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Headquarters, where he was director of their Environmental Program.
  • Ted Biess has been part of the Environmental Management Division (EMD) staff at NASA Headquarters since 2003. His major focus has been to bring processes and tools used within NASA program and project development activities to environmental management and other mission support organizations. These include disciplines such as risk and opportunity management, knowledge sharing, and decision analysis.

Abstract — As mentioned at the beginning of this Forum, our intent is that this be a highly interactive, reflective learning process that involves not only shared stories from key leaders and practitioners in this emerging and increasingly important field, but also your personal feedback about what you have learned and how you might use this new knowledge in your own practices. This is also your opportunity to provide NASA with guidance on what you feel should be the way forward and the steps we should take to accomplish these goals. By participating in this process, you help establish a new community of practice within NASA that could create the means to forge further international efforts in the ‘greening of space’. We are also interested in adding to our body of research about how NASA learns. This will be your opportunity to provide insight, guidance, and feedback to NASA on these topics.


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