ASCEND, the interdisciplinary community focused on building humanity’s off-world future faster, today announced the detailed agenda for its East Coast Satellite Event on 15 November in Washington, DC, as part of the 2021 ASCEND centerpiece event. Powered by AIAA, ASCEND was launched in 2020 to Accelerate Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery.


For those living within commutable distance of Washington, DC, this limited-space, one-day, face-to-face event will feature discussions with national leaders on-site, networking during and after, and a live feed from the ASCEND Las Vegas stage. The AIAA National Capital Section will host a happy hour networking event at the conclusion of the day.


Registration is open now and includes full online access for 8–10 and 15–17 November. Journalists interested in covering the DC-based event in person should contact for credentialing.


2021 ASCEND East Coast Satellite Event

15 November, 1030–1600 hrs ET

Lunch is included

Ronald Reagan Building – Rotunda Room, Washington, DC


Opening Ceremony (Livestreamed)

        Kari Byron, Producer and Television Personality


Building Worlds That Do Not Yet Exist (Livestreamed)

Have you ever wondered if we, as the greater collective, are thinking big enough for space? Discover the futures that don’t yet exist, how incredible creators and visionaries bring their ideas into reality, and the value that such efforts can bring to drive progress. Because if we can’t dream it, we can’t get there. Let’s explore together how to imagine untapped opportunities and turn those dreams into tangible images of the future as a catalyst for accelerating growth and delivering greater value for the space enterprise!

  • Moderator: Ariel Ekblaw, Director, MIT Space Exploration Initiative, MIT Media Lab


Public-Private Partnerships: When One Shoe Doesn’t Fit All (Livestreamed)

Public–Private Partnerships (PPP) have been in use in the United States almost since the nation was founded and in aviation and space for decades – driving industry forward, introducing innovation, and reducing costs. At the same time, they are not a panacea and sometimes fail, leaving the government to step in to clean up the mess. NASA’s recent efforts to utilize PPPs for human spaceflight systems are modeled on success with the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program that benefitted from an existing launch market with well-established customer demand. Is this the appropriate model for PPPs under conditions of uncertain demand, in LEO or deep space? Are PPPs still a meaningful construct in those circumstances, or are the rules, incentives, and risk management approach governing the relationship more important? This session will go beyond the “PPP soundbite” to explore different models across various types of markets and incentives.

  • Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive Vice President, Axiom Space (Moderator)
  • Dan Dumbacher, Executive Director, AIAA
  • Henry Hertzfeld, Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University


Policy for Growing Commercial Space Opportunities (Live, in person after lunch)


Opening remarks will be given by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman, House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee.


The panel discussion that follows will sharpen our focus on how policy can be used to accelerate, enhance, and shape commercial space opportunities while balancing the array of technical, financial, legal, and programmatic factors. Topics for the dynamic discussion include: When is it appropriate for government to use commercial services? What are the benefits and risks of firm-fixed-price procurements and Other Transactional Authorities? How can government and industry work together to accelerate “hard tech” development for space? How can regulations encourage the growth of purely private space ventures while still protecting public safety and other national interests?

  • Tim Dominick, Chair, AIAA Public Policy (Moderator)
  • Mike Gold, Executive Vice President for Civil Space and External Affairs, Redwire Space
  • Tom Hammond, Senior Policy Advisor, House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee (Minority Staff)
  • Ezinne Uzo-Okoro, Assistant Director for Space Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)


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Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell



Powered by AIAA, ASCEND promotes the collaborative, interdisciplinary, outcomes-driven community of professionals, students, and enthusiasts around the world who are accelerating humanity’s progress toward our off-world future! For more information, visit, or follow ASCEND on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


About AIAA

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.