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Space Watch

The View From Here: 28th National Space Symposium on the Launch Pad

With just two weeks until the launch of the 28th National Space Symposium, an uncanny calm has descended upon the Space Foundation. You might expect this to be a stressful, hectic time for our team, and it is certainly true that the hours are long and the preflight checklists extensive. But there's also a deep satisfaction in knowing that we're ready - that our team, our customers, our speakers, sponsors and guests from around the world will shortly converge upon Colorado Springs for the biggest and most important gathering of the space industry anywhere in the world.

These continue to be challenging times in our industry. But as the data in our soon-to-be-released The Space Report 2012 will reveal, the industry overall continues to grow and prosper. If the only thing we did in this business was government contracting, times would be lean and stressful indeed - and certainly our customers who are primarily in that business are feeling the squeeze. But roughly 70 percent of the revenues generated by this industry represent commercial space infrastructure, products, applications and services - markets that continue to thrive.  

With competition keen in these sectors, and year-to-year changes in the government sector playing out in a political serve-and-volley that has little logic and is all but impossible to follow, it makes sense that the 28th National Space Symposium is well on track to be the largest, and most well-attended event in Symposium history. After all, it is the one place where the leadership of the entire industry worldwide comes together for mutual benefit. Whether you are launching a new product or service, looking for a good place to put some venture capital or are concerned about the trajectory of a government agency or program, the experts, leaders and in-the-know policy makers and deal makers will all be there.

To not attend is to not compete.

Because of that, one important thing hasn't changed: our National Space Symposium customers will get more business done in four days at The Broadmoor than they could accomplish in four months on airplanes (and for the cost of one business trip, rather than many). That's the value that your Space Foundation team works so hard to deliver.

We are very conscious that, for all of our customers, every marketing, meeting and travel dollar must count. We understand that in today's lean and competitive business environment, only those things that truly add value can be supported. And we know that to stand still is to invite entropy. That is why our team works so hard to deliver everything you expect at the National Space Symposium, and to consistently delight you by delivering more and more value-added surprises year after year.

For the 28th National Space Symposium, we have pulled out all the stops:

  • In partnership with The Broadmoor, we've made a major investment in quality exhibit capacity. The new Exhibit Center Pavilion facility consolidates in one hall the exhibit space formerly divided between Colorado Hall, Lower Level 1 and the Golden Bee and Summit parking lots. It also provides space for more companies to exhibit going forward. This investment has helped make it possible for more than 40 first-time exhibiting organizations to join us for the Symposium. The net result for 2012 is the largest exhibition, with the greatest number of exhibitors, in Symposium history.
  • Our agenda of speeches, panel discussions and presentations is also expanded this year. As the industry continues to grow more diverse and international, it becomes more and more challenging to address all the topics, and include all the most important speakers, in an increasingly packed three days. For the first time we will offer parallel concurrent sessions on Wednesday afternoon, effectively allowing us to double the number of topics we can cover in that time frame.
  • To cover the crucial Cyberspace sector, we added a full day of Cyber programming three years ago. Cyber 1.2 addresses the unique challenges and opportunities in Cyberspace, including some industry perspectives that we have not addressed before.
  • To further pack in the content and crank up the value, we are introducing three new emphasis area luncheons to the program. Tuesday's Space Warfighters Luncheon focuses on the unique requirements and accomplishments of space professionals in uniform, while Thursday offers two topical luncheons for attendees to choose from. (We figure everybody has to eat, and we might as well feed the brain as well as the stomach!)
  • Our New Generation Space Leaders program brings still further content to the Symposium, and participation in this special emphasis track for up-and-coming young space leaders has once again significantly grown in size. We have already confirmed a 20 percent increase in participation by New Generation space professionals, with two weeks remaining in the program enrollment period.
  • Furthering our commitment to the New Generation, and to the spirit of international collaboration that is so important to our industry, the Space Foundation has teamed with the Space Generation Advisory Council (an international organization supporting the United Nations Program on Space Applications) to host the first SGAC Fusion Forum. The Fusion Forum, held on the "front end" of NSS, will bring an even more diverse contingent of young space professionals from Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas to the Symposium.
  • On the international front, we expect more countries than ever to be represented at this year's National Space Symposium, including important delegations from the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Mexico, China, the United Kingdom and Canada. Both the chairman and chairman-elect of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will be participating, as will minister-level appointees from several nations.
  • With the employment picture here in the U.S. improving, a Space Career Day also returns to the Symposium - supported for the first time by National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program.

We like to say that one of the keys to the success of the National Space Symposium is that we quietly re-invent the Symposium every year - keeping all the major events and features that our customers expect, while introducing something new and delightfully surprising that makes each event memorable and increasingly valuable. This year, the changes are numerous, and obvious. And the early sell-out of all ten of our conference hotels, coupled with record-breaking advance registrations, points to another blockbuster event.

What is most gratifying, however, is the value that our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, registrants, guests and visitors continue to see in this event. It's no secret that the trade show and conference business, worldwide and across industries, has seen tough times over the past several years. Some venerable trade shows and conferences have folded up their tents, and companies in all industries, including ours, have been forced to make hard decisions about what events matter, and which trade shows and conferences can continue to be supported. We understand that the continued growth of the National Space Symposium, especially in this environment, is about value, values and trust. And we know that we need to deliver that value, live the values expressed in our mission statement and earn that trust, every day.

On behalf of your entire Space Foundation team, thank you for seeing value in what we do and thank you for placing your trust in us. The stage is set and we look forward to being of service to you at the 28th National Space Symposium.

Space continues to beckon us. The View from Here is that the best is yet to come.

To learn more about the 28th National Space Symposium, our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and corporate supporters, visit the Symposium site here.

Elliot Holokauahi Pulham Chief Executive Officer

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