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NASA hosts virtual symposium on rise of commercial space

From activities in low-Earth orbit to NASA’s Artemis program, the commercial space industry has emerged as an innovator in areas of space access, commerce, and exploration. To address the growth of commercial space over the past decades and inform the relationship between government and industry for the future, NASA will host a virtual event Wednesday, March 17, through Friday, March 19, with a final session Thursday, March 25.

NASA and the Rise of Commercial Space: A Symposium Examining the Definition(s) and Context(s) of Commercial Space will address such topics as legal and entrepreneurial frameworks, advancements during the space shuttle era, and new trajectories, while examining the historical context surrounding questions such as “How will humanity explore the moon and Mars?” and, more fundamentally, how to define commercial space.

The program begins Wednesday, March 17, with a keynote talk by Eric Berger, senior space editor at Ars Technica, on the early days of SpaceX. Two days of panel discussions follow on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19, featuring keynote talks by Ken Davidian of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation and NASA Chief Economist Alexander MacDonald, author of “The Long Space Age: The Economic Origins of Space Exploration from Colonial America to the Cold War.” The final session, on Thursday, March 25, is a collaboration between NASA, the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, and the University of Alabama Huntsville, and will feature a keynote talk by Steve Lee of Astrosat.

The event is free and open to the public. No registration is required to attend sessions – simply click on the WebEx links located on the program webpage to login during each day of the symposium. For questions related to the event, email

S: Aerospace Manufacturing and Desing

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