David Webb, Founder and Chair of Space Studies Department Passed Away
David C. Webb, first Chair and founder of the Department of Space Studies, passed away on October 1, 2016.
David Webb was recruited by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin to serve as founding full professor and chairman of the Department of Space Studies for the College of Aerospace Sciences, at the University of North Dakota. There, Webb created and established the world’s first interdisciplinary graduate degree program in Space Studies in 1987. He recruited an eclectic founding faculty with Dick Parker handling space medicine and biology, Joanne Gabrynowicz for space law and policy, Jim Vedda on space commercialization, and Grady Blount anchoring planetary geology and Earth System Science. The broadly based curriculum combines scientific/technical, political/legal, social/psychological and other relevant fields of study into an integrated approach to our understanding of the issues and impacts associated with our entry into space and our attempts to live in and develop this new frontier. After Webb’s departure from UND in 1990, the program was taken over by selenologist Chuck Wood, who expanded the program into the first Internet-based degree program in space studies in 1996. Space Studies remains one of the largest graduate programs at UND and more than 750 students have received their M.Sc. degree.
Dr. David Webb was also Founding Chairman and Trustee Emeritus of the International Space University. In 1995, it established a permanent campus in Strasbourg, France.
During the past 30 years, Dr. Webb has given more than 400 invited presentations and papers on all aspects of space exploration, technology, and development, both nationally and internationally, as keynote speaker, conference leader, panelist and participant in numerous events. These included invited presentations to NASA senior management seminars, in Washington, D.C., Goddard SFC, Lewis (now Glenn) SFC, Marshall SFC in Huntsville, Ames SFC in Palo Alto, CA. Keynote presentations included: International Society of Electric Propulsion Engineers Conference; AIAA/SEP International Propulsion Conference; Batelle Institute International High Speed Flight Conference; USAF Spacecoast 2020 Study; USAF closed meeting (Eglin AFB) on Hypersonic Rail Gun Technologies; IEEE International Conference on Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects; US Department of Energy, National Conference on Mathematics, Science & Engineering Education.
More information about David Webb and his life can be found at his Wikipedia page.