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Space Tech Expo 2015

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The space business is changing. While U.S. military and government face shrinking budgets, collaborating with the burgeoning commercial space sector can help provide the expertise and technology required to continue delivering missions safely and cost effectively. Meanwhile, small satellites plus affordable launchers promise nothing less than the democratization of space.

These were the types of issues addressed during Space Tech Expo 2015 in May, which was held in Long Beach, Calif. The event saw more than 200 exhibitors, which was a 33 percent increase from the previous event, and more than 20 percent of the exhibitors came from outside the United States. Space Tech Expo had a 45 percent increase in attendance from the 2014 show, and more than 3,100 professionals from the space and aerospace industry attended the three-day event, which included an expansive exhibit hall, presentations, product launches, speakers, panel discussions and workshops. 

Among the industry leaders in attendance were Airbus, Amazon, Boeing, DLR, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, NASA JPL, United Launch Alliance, Ames and Glenn Research Centers, Goddard Space Flight Center, Sierra Nevada, U.S. Air Force and Virgin Galactic. Exhibitors included Alliance Spacesystems, Micro Craft Inc., Experior Laboratories, Vision Engineering Solutions, Precision Test Solutions, Space Vector Corp. and Space Information Laboratories.

Outside the exhibit hall, the Space Tech Conference provided 285 delegates with greater insights into industry business, strategy and requirement trends. There were more than 50 speakers, including military officers, senior government personnel and officials from organizations such as ULA, Orbital ATK, NASA JPL, SMC, Boeing, Ball Aerospace, SpaceX, Blue Origin, DARPA and Northrop Grumman. The issues they discussed included competition in the launch services market, how military and government organizations can develop effective partnerships with commercial entities, the latest developments in reusable launch vehicles and technologies, and updates from NASA and its partners on the status of the Commercial Crew program. 

After the show, NASA announced that the Commercial Crew program ordered its first crew rotation mission from Boeing. SpaceX, which successfully performed a pad abort test of its flight vehicle in May, is expected to receive its first order later this year. Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first will be made at a later time. 

Missions flown to the station on Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will restore America’s human spaceflight capabilities and increase the amount of scientific research that can be conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory. “Final development and certification are top priority for NASA and our commercial providers, but having an eye on the future is equally important to the commercial crew and station programs,” says Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew program. 

With this year’s Space Tech Expo a success, the event is already looking to 2016. Next year, the show will move to Pasadena, Calif. and be co-located with the Aerospace Electrical Systems Expo from May 24 to 26. 

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