Last week, we marked the 39th annual Space Symposium, held at the Broadmoor Hotel in my home district of Colorado Springs. The Space Symposium has been well known for decades as the world’s largest space gathering, bringing together brilliant minds from government, industry and academia to evaluate progress in space advancements. As Chair of the House Strategic Forces Committee, I was pleased to welcome all attendees. Colorado Springs is the perfect venue for such an event, as we have been the nation’s capital for space innovation for years and only plan to increase that productivity. Roughly 12,000 people, 15,000 companies and 40 countries were in attendance. There was no better place on Earth to hold such a prestigious event.

During the Symposium, I had the chance to attend multiple events and toured several booths at the exhibit. Some highlights include Rocket Lab’s portion of an Electron Rocket that had flown in space. At RTX, I saw their work in space using the High-Resolution Telescope and a demo of the new generation space suit Collins Aerospace is building for NASA’s Artemis Astronauts. I visited with experts from such great companies as Lockheed Martin, Kratos, York Space Systems, Astroscale U.S., and many others. Many new developments were announced last week. The Chief of Space Operations for the Space Force, Gen. Saltzman, unveiled the Space Force’s Commercial Space Strategy. The Space Foundation announced receiving the full James Webb Space Telescope model for their Colorado Springs Discovery Center from Northrop Grumman. This telescope will be the only life-sized model on Earth. Additionally, the Biden administration announced that a Japanese astronaut would be the first international astronaut to land on the Moon with the Artemis Program. In exchange, JAXA is developing the pressurized lunar rover for NASA’s Artemis mission.

Throughout the years, Colorado Springs and the Broadmoor Hotel have hosted excellent speakers and encouraged advancements in the space community. Vice President Pence attended in 2018 to preview Space Policy Directive 3, which transferred civil space debris tracking and other priorities to the Office of Space Commerce at the Commerce Department. The National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group frequently meets at the Symposium to review and provide guidance on space policy items for the Administration. Space Symposium will continue to be the premiere space conference for announcements and collaboration with international colleagues.

Over the years, Colorado Springs has made significant strides in all aspects of space innovation. As the chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee and during my tenure with the House Armed Services Committee, I have prioritized critical issues such as nuclear deterrence, hypersonics, and missile defense, all of which are vital to our nation’s security. I worked tirelessly to establish Colorado Springs as the epicenter of the nation’s Space Enterprise. Our city has a rich history with our nation’s military space program, dating back to 1960 when operational control of our space defense forces was placed under the North American Air Defense Command. In 1985, Ronald Reagan established the first U.S. Space Command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, as part of his Strategic Defense Initiative during the height of the Cold War. Now, 39 years later, Colorado Springs is home to Schriever Space Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain and U.S. Space Command Headquarters at Peterson Space Force Base. The United States Space Command base in Colorado Springs is a testament to its long-standing military and commercial space leadership, which is why so many companies in the Space industry continue to invest in this community and why the Space Symposium is hosted here.

It was evident to all attendees that the need for tactically responsive systems is urgent. Our adversaries are rapidly developing new and innovative ways to dominate the space domain. This underscores the crucial role of the Space Symposium, where the commercial and defense sectors converge to discuss and strategize ways to collaborate. Our aim is to develop quick, resilient, and reliable systems that will enhance our presence in space. Space is evolving into a thoroughfare of commerce and economic activity that must be protected. The free world is relying on the best minds and innovative companies to safeguard the space domain from malign purposes. It was inspiring to see leaders in aerospace in attendance, and I urge everyone to seize this opportunity to network and collaborate on solutions to the most challenging national security issues.

Congressman Doug Lamborn has served as the U.S. representative for Colorado’s 5th congressional district since 2007. An attorney, he is a member of the Republican Party. His district is based in Colorado Springs.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.