Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) tries on a virtual reality simulator as he greets vendors and guests at the 2016 Space and Missile Defense Symposium at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala. Credit: Eric Schultz / Rocket City Photo

Special coverage of the 2016 Space & Missile Defense Symposium is sponsored by

Thursday, Aug. 18

Air Force sent GSSAP satellite to check on MUOS-5  

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Air Force said Aug. 18 it sent one of its high-orbiting space surveillance satellites to check on a Navy communications satellite that ran into propulsion problems about halfway to geosynchronous orbit. See More 

Army hoping for new smallsat imaging and space situational awareness sensors 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Army is looking for small sensors that can help with imaging and space situational awareness as it continues to evolve its small satellite program.  See More 

First intercept test of new SM-3 variant set for October

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A new missile co-developed by the United States and Japan is expected to face its first intercept test this October, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said Aug. 17.  See More 

Wednesday, Aug. 17

Utah State’s Space Dynamics Lab to continue research for MDA

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded the Utah State University Research Foundation a contract to continue to research, develop and build state-of-the-art space-based sensors, according to an Aug. 16 announcement from the Pentagon. See More 

MDA’s Syring: Space-based sensors are a “must”

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is considering tracking ballistic missiles that could threaten the United States using a sensor in medium Earth orbit. See More 

Report cites “urgent” need for new national security space policies

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  — The National Academies said there is an “urgent need” for the U.S. government to write new policies that shape how the Defense Department should respond to threats to American satellites. See More 

Commentary | A space sensor layer for missile defense

Space is the place for a variety of missile defense tasks — including launch detection, tracking, discrimination, intercept, and kill assessment. See More 

Tuesday, Aug. 16

Haney: JICSpOC will prove U.S. is prepared for space threats

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The head of U.S. Strategic Command used a keynote address here to emphasize that two high-profile space programs could deter potential adversaries from taking actions against U.S. national security satellites. – See More

Army adopts new policy calling for greater contributions to space

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Space and Missile Defense Symposium formally kicked off Tuesday morning when Army Col. Joe Guzman made the case for the service to play a greater role in Defense Department space operations. See More

Commentary | Space-based interceptors: realistic, affordable, and necessary

This week the nation’s top space and missile defense military and industry leaders will gather in one place, Huntsville, Alabama, for the 19th Annual Space & Missile Defense Symposium. Those gathered there should consider the findings and recommendations of a Hudson Institute report I had the privilege of authoring with the guidance and stamp of approval of an all-star senior review group. See More

Monday, Aug. 17

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium here is an opportunity for the missile defense community to provide a progress report on national missile defense programs.

Navy Vice Adm. James Syring. Credit: C. Shamwell
Navy Vice Adm. James Syring. Credit: C. Shamwell

This year, one of the top draws will be a speech by U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Syring, the head of the Missile Defense Agency. Syring has traditionally used these keynotes to lay out a vision for improvements on the Ballistic Missile Defense System and explain what the agency will be looking for in upcoming intercept tests.

Adm. Cecil Haney, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, also is expected to discuss space, cyberspace and missile defense. Haney is helping lead the development of the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center with the intelligence community at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. He’s also a key player in deciding how the Defense Department wants to position itself to operate in a more contested space environment.

U.S. Army leaders are also expected to discuss their vision for space this week. The Army is the Defense Department’s largest consumer of space capabilities, primarily through satellite communications, and in recent years, has studied rocket concepts for launching small, low-orbiting satellites on short notice and has launced three experimental communications cubesats.

The show, which is expected to have about 3,000 participants, kicks off today, with formal sessions beginning Tuesday, and runs through Thursday, Aug. 18 at the Von Braun Center.

Key features of this year’s symposium include:

  • Hypersonic/ Additive Manufacturing Technology Track
  • STEM Education Forum and Expo
  • Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Program
  • Wednesday evening dinner featuring an Industry Leader
  • Presentations from Senior Level National and International Leaders
  • Congressional and Technology Panels

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.