The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has announced that, due to COVID-19, its new flagship space event, ASCEND, will be re-envisioned into an entirely virtual, yet collaborative event for the entire space community.
While the in-person portion of ASCEND may have been cancelled in 2020, the online experience is being designed to allow anyone on Earth who is interested in advancing space exploration and commerce to participate.
ASCEND is now expected to convene twice the originally projected attendance, further accelerating progress toward building a sustainable civilization off our planet.
“We believe that humans already possess the technology, experience, and ambition to build and sustain life in space,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA Executive Director. “ASCEND is where it all comes together, convening the community around a shared vision in order to address the key hurdles to success.”
Unlike traditional space conferences and tradeshows, ASCEND is convening the entire space community with the goal of achieving specific, collective outcomes. The main areas of focus for this year are:
- How we will build a sustainable space economy?
- How we will maintain a permanent off-world civilization?
- How we will address national security and space policy issues?
Thousands of venture capitalists, engineers, inventors, national security experts, authors, producers, professors, students, astronauts, lawyers, researchers, policymakers, and international business executives are coming together virtually on the ASCEND platform to help answer these questions.
“ASCEND is part inspiration, part technical analysis, and part business,” said Dumbacher. “We need people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds working together to build the future for generations to come.”
The ASCEND speaker lineup is intentionally curated to be representative of the expertise Dumbacher mentioned. Here are just a few of the prolific minds coming together for the event:
- James Bridenstine, NASA’s 13th Administrator
- Kari Byron, Producer and Television Personality
- Marillyn A. Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Dhani Jones, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, NFL Linebacker, Author and Host
- Steve Jurvetson, Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of Future Ventures
- Kathy Lueders, Assoc. Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations, NASA
- Sandra Magnus, Deputy Director, Engineering, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; Former NASA Astronaut
- John W. “Jay” Raymond, First Chief of Space Ops & Commander, US Space Force & US Space Command
- Andy Weir, Author, The Martian and Artemis
COVID-19 was the catalyst to reinvent what an entirely virtual, yet collaborative event for the entire space community could look like.
To get the conversation started ahead of the main event in November, ASCEND has launched an initiative called Different Stories. Shared Space. Now anyone in the world can upload their own videos, ask questions, and share perspectives about the future of humans in space.
ASCEND has also launched the ASCENDxSeries, a collection of online webinars, meetings, and collaborative workshops that are open to the public and which have already started global conversations that will continue at the main event and beyond.
ASCEND will take place online 16-18 November 2020. Register now for full access at the best available rate.