It’s been a little over a day since the organization I work in, the Space Foundation, hosted the 32nd Space Symposium at our beautiful Broadmoor resort here in Colorado Springs. Thousands of people from around the world came to meet us and others to talk about all sorts of space topics during the last week. Of course we’ve been getting ready for the event for much longer than that.
While I work alongside awesome teammates and volunteers, I also talked with very cool and interesting visitors I never thought I’d be able to chat with in my life: a Congressional aide or two, a Czech sounding instrument engineer, a German optics payload specialist, a Puerto Rican launch company startup–just for starters. And me being me, the mind keeps gathering information in the background and processing it–while talking, while walking, while driving, and–and this is certainly problematic–while sleeping. So the thoughts I’m about to elaborate on are my own–not the Space Foundation’s–and I don’t want anyone to think anything I put here represents what the Space Foundation is promoting, because it doesn’t.
The upshot is there’s so much going on in space, it’s mind-boggling. As a research analyst in the space industry, I try my hardest to keep the pulse of the world in space activities. First of all, it’s my job. But second, I love doing it. I look up information for companies, organizations, startups and more who are doing something with space be it products, services, data, infrastructure, employment. It’s always changing, and I’m always surprised by what I find.
Do my activities mean I know everything about what’s going on? Absolutely not. And that point certainly hit home this last week as I talked with Symposium participants about what they did, what their plans were, and their thoughts about what they saw as a future in space. There was even a former Army colonel, a colleague of mine, working for a company now, who has big space dreams which I won’t elaborate on because those dreams are for him to unfold and hopefully succeed with. And I wish him well. Smart or energetic personalities continue to push their vision of their part in the space industry, which is why I am laxly putting them all under the “space operations” title. if only during last week.
As a former space operator in the USAF, I know there are differences between what I did, and what the people I met at Symposium are doing. Some are also space operators in “real life,” since space agencies, space services providers, and the military were also there. But we all have done or are doing our part to make the world a better place, using space as the tool to do so. For this one week, we were all “space operators” before heading back to become that optical specialist, sounding engineer, launch vehicle startup, or research analyst. Each one in a role in resolving problems that will allow them or their company to become successful, usually by introducing something ultimately useful in making space cheaper, more affordable, more relevant than ever.
So now we all go back to those roles. For me, this happens a little later, as there are only slightly less than fifty of us in the Space Foundation, and while it’s been fun, we really need a break. But, based on my conversations, this whole next year of space activities is going to be fun to watch, giving us quite a bit to talk about during Symposium next year. The markets space is involved in have expanded, but it would be foolish to think those are the only markets for space. As in our day-to-day activities, there will be new markets and new opportunities. It would be more interesting if we could see more Chinese and Russian presence, but as in “What about Bob?” it’s baby-steps–especially in space. Each step another “small step” for mankind.