What does being the Secretary General for the Starship Congress mean to me?
posted by admin on July 29, 2013
Icarus Interstellar is thrilled to announce Anu Bowman will be the first Secretary General for Starship Congress. Ms. Bowman serves on the Advisory Board for Icarus Interstellar and has twenty-five years experience in research and development of advanced technologies, systems, R&D program management, science and technology based program development, and broad based R&D concept development and business development.
Her experience includes systems strategic planning and concept development for radiological and nuclear detection systems, hyper-spectral and multi-spectral systems, and engineering and project management for advance electro-optics programs, remote sensing system analysis and testing, design and construction of near-to mid-IR solid state laser systems as well as systems engineering and data analysis support for Navy tactical airborne electro-optics projects. Recent assignments include management of the Transformational and Applied Research Directorate of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office at the Department of Homeland Security; managing the entire R&D portfolio for DNDO, a 24 member, Fed and Contractor staff and over $110M in programs as well as leading the international R&D outreach for DNDO.
We recently asked Ms. Bowman what it meant to her to be the Secretary General for Starship Congress and received the following characteristically thoughtful response.
A friend posed the question to me a few years ago, what would it take to push the community and technology to achieve interstellar flight in the 100-year time frame. This was over a standard catch up lunch, catching up with a former colleague. I’m sure I responded “Well, I’m not sure, but I could imagine that as a very interesting question and would look forward to the dialog associate with that question. Little did I realize that this discussion would have such a profound impact on my life and view of the future.
My brother dubbed me the family space cadet as growing up I was always looking up to see the stars and what the night sky had to offer.
I always knew I was interested in space. My early focus was astronomy and astrophysics. I recall vividly my 13-year-old self announcing to my Mother that I wanted to be an astronaut. To her credit she only replied that of course I could do that if I wanted to. Needless to say, I did not become an astronaut. I did however receive my Bachelors degree in Physics and Astronomy. I was so very pleased to be able to say that I actually worked as an astronomer one summer while in school, and had the additional pleasure, again while an undergrad, of working at GSFC in the Extragalactic Astronomy group. Astronomy and I moved in different directions when I graduated and my interest in space was relegated to significant consumption of science fiction books, movies and the like. My path moved away from space concerns over time professionally but it was always a hobby and never far from my heart.
The question posed to me a few years ago set me on a path that included panel discussions and presentations at the DARPA 100YSS meeting; the opportunity to meet and get to know icons in the space exploration/interstellar community; and a revival of the wide eye girl who was always looking up at the sky with wonder.
I was asked what did the Starship Congress mean to me. My answer is a renewal of hope and wonder. I really see and feel the energy in the community that has been churning over the last some number of years. It feels like we, the community at large, are building momentum to really move the interstellar flight mission forward. In taking the role of Secretary General for the Starship Congress and in hosting the first General Assembly, I am honored to be able to invite the leadership of the community, metaphorically, into my living room and to participate in the discussion about the vision, future, issues, goals and dreams that collectively we all share. I am so pleased to be able to share my passion with so many – it is sure to be an awesome conversation!
(Oh, and Dave, thanks for asking the question!)