Frequently Asked Questions


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General ASCEND

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.

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

How is content being developed for ASCEND?

ASCEND is built around asking the big idea questions that impact everyone working or studying in the space industry. We’re collaborating with our engineering, business, civil, and governmental advisors to select the cutting-edge topics and reaching out to space adjacent partners to bring in the whole space community.

The 2021 November program is being announced on 10 June.

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 for 2021, and stay tuned for the next Call for Content in 2022.

We would also love to hear your ideas for speakers and topics in the meantime. To share those ideas, send us an email at

How can my organization 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 Be a Sponsor page or send us an email at 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.

Check out the stacked Guiding Coalition for 2021 and get excited for the sessions these folks are cooking up for ASCEND this year.

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 in November.

The ASCENDxSeries is happening now and will provide multiple live online informational and engaging opportunities, via summits, workshops, and webinars.

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

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.

A majority of the technical presentations will not be presented live in-person – they will be uploaded in advance and available for viewing on-demand. Each prerecorded technical presentation will be 10 minutes in length. The live session will consist of an auto-play of these presentations followed by a live Q&A with presenters available in scheduled sessions between 8-10 and 15-17 November.

2021 November Hybrid Model

When and where is the event happening?

This year’s main event will feature a hybrid blend of live in-person and online programming.

  • The schedule launches 8-10 November with a three-day flight of live programming presented only online.
  • The following week, 15-17 November, ASCEND is live from Las Vegas and online everywhere.
  • On 15 November, ASCEND will also host a one-day, in-person event in Washington, DC that will be connected with the Las Vegas program.
  • Presented content will be available for on-demand viewing online throughout the event and the weeks following.

I’m a speaker or chair – do I need to register?

Yes – all Technical Session and Collaborative Session presenters or chairs need to have a paid registration. This registration can either be for the online only experience or the in-person components as all include full access to the online platform.

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 for 2021, and stay tuned for the next Call for Content in 2022.

We would also love to hear your ideas for speakers and topics in the meantime. To share those ideas, send us an email at

Does the in-person registration include access to the online platform?

Yes! Every paid registration includes full access to the online platform so you can access the content from anywhere at any time.

How can I tell which sessions will be on-stage in Las Vegas or presented virtually?

Check out the Online Program for the Technical sessions and Collaboritive sessions. If the session type is “Onsite & Virtual”, that means the session will be presented onsite on a stage in Las Vegas and streamed online for all virtual registrants to enjoy. If the session type is “Virtual Only”, that means the session will be presented in an online capacity only, available to all registrants.

Whether a person registers for the Las Vegas experience or the Online experience, they will have full access to all programmatic content via the online platform.

How will the Technical and Collaborative Program be presented in the hybrid format?

We want attendees to have the chance to view technical and collaborative content (as part of the Micro Session programming) when it is convenient as well as have the ability to interact with other attendees, ask questions, and offer an option for open discussion. A majority of the Micro Sessions will be presented virtually through the online platform. All technical sessions, except select Hypersonics sessions, will be presented online. Collaborative sessions are a mix of in-person versus online.

All technical paper presentations regardless of presentation format will have a prerecorded file available for viewing prior to the session and at 10 minutes in length. Technical presentations in virtual only sessions will not be presented in Las Vegas – they will be uploaded in advance and available for viewing on demand at any time during the forum and also shown during their scheduled Live Screening sessions for collective viewing.

To maximize Q&A time, attendee interaction, and engagement, online-only technical sessions at ASCEND will be offered as Live Screenings. These “watch parties” offer attendees, presenters, and session chairs the ability to collectively view prerecorded presentations and chat with everyone in the sessions and have a Q&A with the presenter(s). At the conclusion of the Live Screening, a Zoom session will be posted for those who want to have a face-to-face conversation with session attendees and ask additional questions. Additionally, all submitted prerecorded presentations will be automatically transcribed during the Live Screenings for an extended viewing experience.

How will the Live Screenings work?

Each online-only technical session will have an individual Live Screening room for watching the prerecorded sessions, asking questions, and chatting with session attendees. At the start of the session, the first prerecorded presentation will automatically play, followed by the remaining presentations in speaker order. During the presentations, each attendee will have the ability to ask questions and chat with session attendees. After the final presentation has finished, the Live Screening will remain open for additional chat or, if preferred, a Zoom meeting room will be posted for attendees to discuss the session.

You can view a demonstration of a Live Screening session from a previous AIAA event below for reference. An ASCEND specific demonstration will be added closer to the event.

I’d like to attend in-person in Las Vegas and participate in the Online sessions. How can I do that?

The benefit of this hybrid model is that full access registrants will be able to access every session online from anywhere.

We are planning the Las Vegas experience to accommodate those attendees who need a quiet place to interact with an online-only session.

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 and documentation will be provided for both session chairs and individual presenters. More information will be posted and sent out in late summer 2021.

Where do I upload my manuscript if applicable and the pre-recorded presentation file?

Presenting technical authors will submit the manuscript (if applicable), the 10-minutes pre-recorded presentation MP4 or M4V file via ScholarOne Abstracts by 2000 hrs ET, 6 October 2021.

Are we required to use the AIAA template for the slides, or can we use our university/company template instead?

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 or M4V pre-recorded presentation?

Presentations must include slides and audio and be saved as a MP4 or M4V file. A document citing details and information on options and best practices is available in the Resource Center.

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 the Resource Center.

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 10 minutes long; presentations longer than 10 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

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.

Is our video limited to our slides, or can we bring in other video and visuals?

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

Is there an ASCEND presentation template?

Yes! Session chairs and presenters are welcome to use the ASCEND presentation template as they desire. This template will be available on the Presenter Resourcespage.


What are the registration rates and deadlines?

The registration pageis now live, showing the different rates and opportunities to participate in the event.

Early bird rates expire at 11:59 PM ET on 30 September 2021.
Las Vegas and East Coast Satellite registration will end on 1 November to allow time for health and safety protocol coordination. There will be no onsite registration for these in-person components. Online platform registration will remain open until the conclusion of the event on 17 November.

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 November event and cannot participate either in-person or online?

If you register and you’re not able to attend the in-person components or the online live sessions, you can request a refund prior to 1 November 2021 or view the content on-demand at your convenience. Recordings of the high level sessions and technical presentations will be available until December 2021.

Do you have a student rate?

Yes we do, this is an exclusive benefit for current AIAA student members. Refer to the registration rates page for rules and restrictions; scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Is there a discount for AIAA Members?

We do offer a discount for AIAA members as well as additional discounts for different types of membership. More details are on the registration rates page. Scroll down to the bottom for an explanation on the registration types.

Is there a press pass?”

Yes, more information will be posted in late July on how to request this access.

What is the Public Access registration?

Are you part of the science interested public and want to get a taste of ASCEND? We’re proud to offer the “Public Access Registration” for FREE! This will get you access to a select few sessions in November.

Speakers, presenters, and other participants of the Technical and Collaborative Session program will not be able to access their sessions through this registration type.

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