On-Ramp Partners

ASCEND is building on-ramps to space for everyone, and we welcome like-minded industry and professional associations, educational institutions, and workforce advocacy organizations to join us as partners.

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On-Ramp Partners

A Simple Premise with
Profound Potential

Space is where the growth is, and ASCEND is your accelerator. As the space arm of AIAA, the world’s largest aerospace technical society, we’re a worldwide advocate for the emerging off-world economy and the imperative for interdisciplinary partnerships — across all industries and professions — to propel it.

The ASCEND On-Ramp Partnership exemplifies AIAA’s peer-to-peer spirit of cooperation. The premise is a simple barter agreement, trading off each other’s access and influence to achieve our respective operational goals and expand our collective community.

The potential is to create a competitive advantage for your organization and the people you serve to succeed in space now and for generations to come.

  • Joint marketing and communications to promote our partnership
  • Shared communication networks and resources to minimize budget impact
  • Validated by 2022 ASCEND program content specific to your sector’s off-world opportunities
  • On-Ramp Partner pricing for your members to attend ASCEND

Let's Start Building

Whether you’re already working off-world, plotting your trajectory or just starting to consider the possibilities, an ASCEND On-Ramp Partnership will move you forward—faster.

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Sam Gunderson

On-Ramp Partners

Partnership Development Lead within the Exploration Technology Office, NASA Johnson Space Center

Sam Gunderson is the Partnership Development Lead within the Exploration Technology Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The partnership team within JSC is working to enhance stakeholder relationships to “propel the space economy,” and help evolve how the Center uses partnerships now and in the future. Specifically, bringing JSC competencies to help industry manage their risks in support of meeting NASA mission objectives.

Prior to returning to JSC, he was a director on the business development team at Blue Origin from 2012 to 2020. During that time, he was instrumental in building successful relationships by working early in product lifecycle development with advanced programs and engines businesses which resulted in the establishment of several partnership agreements. Sam worked closely with community stakeholders to shape the environment to find balance in meeting both customer and Blue Origin objectives.

Prior to joining Blue Origin, Sam was a minority owner of Cimarron, a small business supporting the space system development and operations community. He also was a senior finance manager at Boeing on the ISS Program and champion of new human spacecraft business development.

Sam spent three years as a contract specialist at the Environmental Protection Agency in award and administration of contracts for research and development. His aerospace career began when he functioned as co-op in Shuttle procurement and then as a program analyst in the Lunar and Mars Program Office at NASA JSC.

Sam earned two B.B.A.’s in finance and accounting from Texas A&M University and a Master’s Degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He is also a CPA in the state of Texas.

Gunderson is married to wife, Charlise, and has two daughters, Bristol and Annika.


Accelerate with Us!

Build your off-world future faster. Subscribe now for alerts, news, special offers and extra access to the expanding universe of ASCEND.