ASCEND is Building Our Sustainable Off-World Future Through Collaboration
By Julie Van Kleeck|September 2023
The ASCEND community continues its journey, looking forward to its fourth apex event: 2023 ASCEND, 23–25 October, Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, Nevada. We see positive signs of progress that ASCEND has made in four years by convening the space industry to make space for all, by expanding our reach to involve adjacent industries in this interdisciplinary and inclusive community, and by driving the conversation toward delivering outcomes. This year, the apex event is accelerating us toward building our sustainable off-world future through collaboration.
Since its inception, ASCEND has directly engaged more than 15,000 people across the space community and beyond. During last year’s apex event, the audience was largely non-AIAA members, at 57% of attendees. We are especially benefiting from the diverse voices from adjacent industries, having welcomed representatives from a number of brands like Bechtel, Cedars Sinai, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and Proctor and Gamble (P&G), to name a few. This year, we look forward to welcoming 3V Company, Boryung, Husqvarna, ICON, PickNik Robotics, and more, to the ASCEND stage.
ASCEND continues delivering on its mission as the catalyst for the global space conversation. Consistently, the event brings leaders from international space agencies together to share how they are cooperating around the globe to accelerate space exploration. The type of collaboration they are pursuing extends beyond national agencies to include commercial entities and private companies. In addition to its speakers, the ASCEND audience is global – with attendees at last year’s apex event hailing from 19 countries.
A key differentiator of ASCEND from other space events and initiatives is its attention to delivering outcomes. Every aspect of ASCEND starts with a vision and progresses through a program of activities, presentations, and conversations that focus on actionable outcomes. They are published on the website for ongoing reference, including a report from 2023 ASCENDxTexas, the “Satellite Orbital Safety Best Practices” reference guide, and the full text of the Diverse Dozen Op-Eds from the past three years. This growing body of work is advancing the knowledge base of the whole ASCEND community.
One of the most valuable assets ASCEND leverages is the 43-member 2023 ASCEND Guiding Coalition. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise as leaders in commercial space operations, government space policy, science and technology policy, new entrepreneurial ventures, and business strategy. This advisory board of technology, science, engineering, and business leaders helps maximize ASCEND’s reach and impact. It has been my pleasure to work closely with them designing the content for this year’s apex event.
We are eagerly anticipating thousands of diverse dreamers and doers at 2023 ASCEND. This year’s attendees will share their visions for space in the next few decades and connect with the key players who can help them bring those visions to life. We can’t wait to see you there. The momentum is growing for 2023 ASCEND.
Julie Van Kleeck is the ASCEND Executive Producer and AIAA Space Domain Lead.
2023 ASCEND is the nexus for addressing the most important opportunities and challenges that come with increased activity in space today:
• Space and Sustainability: Discovering ideas to protect Earth from environmental impact and advance space-based sensing tech, clean energy, asteroid mitigation, and more
• Space Exploration and Infrastructure: Building the necessary infrastructure to support human presence in low Earth orbit, cislunar space, and beyond – from habitats and life-support systems to reliable communication networks and propulsion technologies
• Space Security and Protection: Exploring mission cybersecurity, policy partnerships, detection, and new technologies for space asset protection
• Space Traffic Management: Collaborating on efficient space traffic management to mitigate collision risks and safeguard valuable resources
• Expanding and Evolving the Space Economy: Shaping the expanding space economy including emerging markets and investment approaches with a forecast value of $1 trillion by 2040 – from low Earth orbit to cislunar space
• Education, Outreach, and Workforce: Focusing on workforce challenges, diversity, and education in the commercial space industry