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The Program

“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?”


Join ASCEND emcee, Producer, and television personality Kari Byron to explore these critical questions at ASCEND.

Kari Byron
DhaniJones Narrow

Dhani Jones on Space Commercialization

Join us as we explore the fundamental considerations necessary to capture the world’s interest and enable our off-world future, including questions relating to the technological, economic, risk-related, industrial and workforce elements of that growth.  How will we build a sustainable space economy? Bring your ideas.

Kathy Lueders

Kathryn Lueders on Space Exploration and Settlement

Beyond the infrastructure and technologies that will be needed, what terrestrial technologies, like construction, telecommunications and mining, may be profitably advanced for use in space? How will we coordinate strategic space investments across government agencies? What other benefits for humankind lie in space exploration and in establishing a permanent off-world civilization?  Bring your ideas.

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James Bridenstine on Space Exploration and Settlement

Exploring Earth, the Moon, Mars or anywhere else in the solar system will require the combined efforts of commercial industry, government, and academia. Establishing permanent human settlements on the Moon and Mars will require capturing and building on lessons from a host of disciplines.

Featured ASCEND Speaker John Raymond

General Jay Raymond on National Security and Space Policy

As the U.S. Space Force nears its one-year anniversary, hear about its important achievements and where General Raymond projects it will go from here as it aims for Full Operational Capability in 2022. What is he focused on and what does he need from industry?

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Steve Jurvetson on Space Commercialization

How will private investors, working alongside government agencies, collaborate to bring these new capabilities to market? Which non-endemic industries will be essential to moving the space economy forward? Bring your ideas and help build an understanding of how solving these issues, individually and in tandem, will chart a navigable path.

A program designed to advance your work and career.


The ASCEND Program—Built with Intention

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. ASCEND macro topics for 2020 are:
  • 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-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.”

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