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A program fine-tuned to accelerate your work


The ASCEND program is built to leave you inspired and equipped with new tools, techniques, and ideas you can apply right away. You’ll experience a daily schedule that addresses big questions and challenges facing the entire space community.

The program is a three-tiered system. Starting from the 10,000-foot view (or perhaps we should say, “the 100 km view”), the sessions begin by posing the big questions about the future of space. As the event progresses, sessions narrow in focus and drill down into these questions, generating more practical and actionable discussions.

MACRO sessions offer insight and inspiration around a big theme that is relevant to all attendees.

In many cases, this is introduced as a question or issue that requires the full ecosystem to work together to resolve. The Macro topic is introduced in a high-energy opening session where the full community—exhibitors included—is present. The macro sessions are the “what,” and work well when they can be framed as questions.
META-layer engagement provides the opportunity to connect the macro theme to each attendee’s discipline and interests.

The meta layer offers discussion, distillation, and debate. This meta layer is the link between the macro opening sessions and the micro technical sessions and business meetings, and is critical to a unified, connected event. Meta sessions are specifically relevant to two or more groups of attendees. The meta sessions are the “so what.”
The MICRO layer is where attendees dive deep and apply ideas they’ve picked up throughout the day.

The micro layer includes today’s technical sessions and poster sessions, carefully curated to follow the macro topics, along with business meetings. This is where the best problem-solving happens and the reason the community comes to ASCEND. The micro sessions are the “now what.”

Macro topics covered at ASCEND:

How will we build a sustainable space economy?

How will we maintain a permanent off-world civilization?

How will we address national security and policy implications?

Meta sessions under development

Following the macro session keynote presentations noted above, the meta program will help you advance your expertise through technical sessions, applied discussions, and hands-on problem-solving.

The Trillion Dollar Question

A live debate on defining, quantifying, and forecasting the future of the space economy.

Integration, Investment, and Insight

A roundtable featuring leaders from adjacent industries discussing the emerging opportunities in space.

Engineering the 21st Century Workforce

A discussion and workshop series on recruitment, retention, and advancement throughout the career pipeline, including perspectives on K-12, higher education, young professional, mid-career, and senior executive trends.

From Moonshot to Moonbase

Transdisciplinary perspectives on lunar architectures and infrastructures.

Principles of Production

A workshop series on unearthing the potential of space resource utilization through the development of technologies, applications, policies, and standards.

Life as We Know It

A deep dive into supporting physical, mental, and emotional health in space through the advancement of habitat technologies and design, medical knowledge and instrumentation, and the application of analog environment testing.

Global Perspectives

Discussion and analysis of the national policies of leading and emerging space-faring nations, including topic areas such as economic development and stimulus, national security postures, and opportunities for cooperation.

Space Traffic Management Solutions

International perspectives on the future of STM technology, operations, regulations, and standards.

Ad Coelum

A symposium on necessary legal and policy reforms to enable long-term strategies and investments.

The Next Great Hack

An interactive workshop series on cybersecurity risks and mitigation.

Addressing Science Priorities

Discussion and analysis of opportunities for the space community to rapidly advance toward meeting national and international science goals.


Become an ASCEND speaker

The ASCEND Call for Content is open through 17 March 2020 and is accepting proposal for technical papers, tutorials, case studies, session leadership, and more in the following areas:

  • Defining the Space Economy
  • Education, Outreach, and Workforce Development
  • Information Systems and Software
  • National Science Priorities
  • National Security Space
  • Propulsion
  • Space Exploration Architectures and Enabling Infrastructures
  • Space Life Sciences and Systems
  • Space Policy and Law
  • Space Resource Utilization
  • Space Traffic Management and Integration
  • Transformative Research and Technologies
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Bobby Braun

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