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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Event information

  • What does ASCEND mean?

    ASCEND is an acronym that stands for “Accelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery.” The name captures our ambition to empower space professionals and organizations to drive the space economy forward together.

  • When and where will the event take place?

    ASCEND will take place online 16-18 November 2020. ASCEND will also be featuring bi-weekly online series starting May 2020. 

  • Who will be attending?

    ASCEND is built to convene space professionals and organizations from every discipline and industry to build the space economy, support space exploration, and further space science. Our attendees come from all of the following groups:

    • engineering
    • private enterprise
    • startups
    • investors
    • civil space
    • national security
    • academia
    • research
    • space sciences
    • media
    • emerging technology
    • policy
  • Is there a discount for AIAA members?

    We do offer a discount for AIAA members. Stay tuned for more details about the virtual event. 

  • Do you offer a student rate?

    Yes, we do have a special rate for current students. Stay tuned for more details about the virtual event. 

  • Do you offer press passes?

    Yes, we’d love to have you!

  • Why was the 2020 ASCEND event changed from in-person to online?

    The health and safety of all participants and AIAA employees is our highest priority. Due to concerns regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have shifted the 2020 ASCEND event to a 100% online event.

    AIAA recognizes that the face-to-face meeting is ideal for sharing research, ideas, and convening the community. Given the current challenges posed by COVID-19, we feel that the online format provides the best opportunity for the space ecosystem to meet and share information. By removing some of the barriers to traditional event attendance, including travel costs and time, the online event format will enable greater participation all over the world. We are excited to use this new format to accomplish ASCEND’s focus on getting humanity’s off-world future off the ground.

  • Will Technical Committee meetings take place during the virtual Forum?

    There are designated timeslots for committee meetings to virtually take place immediately following the scheduled content on 18 November. These are in development and more information will be available closer to the event. For general Technical Committee and TC Discussion Group Meetings questions, please contact Angie Lander at angiel@aiaa.org.

  • When will information about the format, schedule, and content be released?

    Basic information about the format and schedule will be available on the ASCEND website by the end of July. 

    Detailed information about the content and presenting authors will be available on the ASCEND mobile app and online program once published in September.

  • How will the technical program be included in the online event?

    In order to maximize schedule flexibility and allow for multiple author presentations in a virtual environment, the technical program will consist of two parts:

    • Authors will upload both manuscript and presentation slides with audio (one MP4 file) for each paper. These will be available for viewing by all registrants at least a week prior to the event start date.
    • Authors will be assigned a virtual live Q&A session in which they can answer questions and have a virtual dialogue with attendees. More information on the specific format and details of these sessions will be available by the end of August.

    Technical presentations will not be presented live – they will be uploaded in advance and available for viewing on-demand. Each prerecorded technical presentation will be 20 minutes in length. There will be live Q&A with presenters available in scheduled sessions between 16-18 November. Live Q&A will include a brief (1 slide) review of the presentation, followed by Q&A with the other presenters and attendees in that session.

  • Do attendees need to watch the pre-recorded technical paper presentation before attending the live Q&A session?

    It is recommended, but not required, that attendees view the pre-recorded technical presentations in advance of the Q&A session. 

Content and programming

  • How is content being developed for ASCEND?

    ASCEND is built around asking tough questions that impact everyone working or studying in the space industry. We’re collaborating with our engineering, business, civil, and governmental advisors to select one primary question for each day of the event.

    ASCEND is building each daily schedule with technical content that aligns under that day’s featured topic. Learn more about our Call for Content.

  • How can I pass along speaker or content suggestions for ASCEND?

    The best way to impact the content at ASCEND is to propose your own work! Learn more about our Call for Content.

    We would also love to hear your ideas for speakers and topics. To share those ideas, send us an email at ascend@aiaa.org.

  • How can my organization exhibit at or sponsor ASCEND?

    As one of ASCEND’s partners, you will be able to further its position by playing a lead role in defining the promise and potential of the emerging space economy. Visit the Exhibit & Sponsor page or send us an email at ascendsales@smithbucklin.com and we’ll help you customize your experience and impact at ASCEND.

  • Who is building the ASCEND experience?

    The ASCEND program is built with the combined expertise of AIAA’s technical community and industry thought leaders. The structure and experience itself are being crafted with the support of world-renowned advisors in the space industry.

  • Will there be published papers and proceedings from ASCEND?

    Yes. Stay tuned for more details!

  • Will there be technical papers?

    Yes! Technical papers play an important role in ASCEND. ASCEND is all about collaboration, sharing ideas, and the very latest thinking in aero and astronautics. There’s no better venue to promote your ideas among your peers, pressure test your thinking, and discover new insight and inspiration.

  • What is the ASCENDxSeries?

    The ASCEND universe is expanding to meet and anticipate the ever growing needs of the global space community. The structure of ASCEND includes a series of online events, identified as the ASCENDxSeries, leading up to the apex event from 16-18 November.

    The ASCENDxSeries is happening now through October and will provide multiple live online informational and engaging opportunities, via ASCENDxWebinars, ASCENDxCo-Labs, and ASCENDxSummits.

    Check out the upcoming events or recordings of previous events are available.

Call for Content Presenter

  • Will there be trainings or Town Halls like previous AIAA virtual Forums to answer questions from the technical presenter community?

    Yes, ample training webinars, Town Halls, and documentation will be provided as we get closer to the event and the deliverable deadlines. Until these are scheduled, please check back to this page or the Technical Presenter Resources page to see if informational guides that are currently being put together have been posted since you last checked.

  • Where do I upload my manuscript if applicable, the presentation file, and the summary slide?

    • Submit the manuscript, the 20-min presentation MP4 file, and the 1 slide summary saved as a PDF via ScholarOne Abstracts
    • Technical paper presenters received an email on 24 July 2020 to access ScholarOne Abstracts for manuscript and/or presentation submission and will receive reminders throughout the summer as the upload deadlines approach that will include the Presenter Invitation link
    • Special format sessions will receive information on their session in August
  • Are we required to use the AIAA template for the slides, or can we use our university/company template instead? Is wide or stand profile preferred for presentations?

    AIAA recommends that you use the available AIAA presentation template, which is wide (16:9) format, but you can use your university/company template if you prefer. Please note that your presentation slides (only) must contain the following copyright information: 

    Copyright © by ____ [author(s) name or company name]. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission.

  • How do I record the requested MP4 presentation?

    Presentations must include slides and audio and be saved as a MP4 file. A document citing details and information on options and best practices is currently being made and will be available by the beginning of August. 

    The presentation with audio can be created in a number of ways, including PowerPoint, PDF, etc. The benefit to prerecording is that you can stop and re-record as necessary to improve the quality.

    • Presentation Recording Guide: For information on how to record, save, and reduce file size, check back in early August
    • Presentation File Type & Maximum Size: Presentations must be saved as one MP4 file with a maximum file size of 500mb. This file will include both the slides and the audio. File compression is highly recommended. Please allow ample time for uploading as large files may take 20-30 minutes to upload, depending on file size and upload speed.
    • Presentation Duration: The presentation should be 20 minutes long; presentations longer than 25 minutes will be rejected and returned to the presenter for re-upload.

    Technical Assistance with Presentation Recordings: If you have any questions or need assistance please contact us at conferences@aiaa.org.

  • Will presentations be required to concurrently show both slide AND presenter or just be prerecorded audio over presentation?

    The presentation is just prerecorded audio with slides; you are not required to show the presenter within the video.

  • Presentations being in MP4 format means that it is in essence a video. Viewers cannot scroll through the presentation at their own pace?

    That’s correct. Because not everyone has access to one particular software used to create the presentation file, we have chosen to use the standard file type of MP4 so that it can be played with a media player inside the virtual Forum platform. We realize this somewhat limits a viewer’s ability to scroll through the presentation at their own pace, but it ensures that attendees will have a consistent experience viewing all technical presentations.

  • Will author/presenter bios be posted with the presentation videos online?

    No, author/presenter bios will not be available with the presentation files, but we encourage presenters to include a very brief introduction of themselves at the start of their presentation.

  • Is our video limited to our slides, or can we bring in other video and visuals? Can we make it look more like a YouTube video?

    You are welcome to use video and visuals in your slides and make it as informative and engaging as possible. 


  • How much is registration for the virtual event?

    Please visit the registration page for details.

  • Who will have access to proceedings?

    Full conference registrants will have access to proceedings. For other registration types (Student and Retiree), they do not have access to the proceedings (publications) to accommodate the lower registration rate. All conference registrants will have access to technical presentations.

  • What if I register for the virtual forum and cannot participate?

    Like the face-to-face event your registration provides you with access to technical proceedings. Regarding registration fees, refunds will not be made if you notify us after 1 November of your inability to participate.

  • How will I access the virtual forum?

    All registrants will receive login information prior to the forum — make sure to check your email that is associated with the registration for details.

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