A New Generation Makes its Mark on The Next Space Age

On the 31 of March, I had the opportunity to participate in the “New Generation for the Next Space Age, panel featured at the 25th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. For those of you that are not familiar with the National Space Symposium, it is the premier event for national and international space industry leaders, including US and foreign government, company leaders, influencers and media. It is organized by the Space Foundation, takes place at the Broadmoor Hotel and has around 7500 attendants from around the world every year. The symposium offers workshops, forums, panels and presentations covering all aspects of space. During which a number of special dinners, luncheons and presentations of prestigious space-related awards are given. It also includes extensive programs for selected teachers and students, a Space Career Fair, and the Boeing Exhibit Centers representing more than 140 organizations and companies.

This year’s theme was “The Next Space Age,” where the speakers and panelists addressed things like the major shifts in the economies, philosophies, and mechanics of the global space industry. For our panel, the Symposium audience had the opportunity to hear from a panel representing commercial, civil, military and new space entrepreneurs who will lead the next wave of space exploration and development. "A New Generation for The Next Space Age" panel was moderated by Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, Executive Officer, Space Generation Advisory Council and the panelists included Paul Engola, Director, West Coast Operations, Sensing & Exploration Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company ,Nicole Jordan, Manager, Rocket Operations, X Prize Foundation ,Capt. Genevieve Minzyk, USAF Executive Officer, 50th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command, Brooke Owens, Space Industry Analyst, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. This was the first time that the Space Foundation had a panel of this caliber and therefore was somewhat intimidating for us, the ones participating in it. I believe it was very intriguing for the rest of Symposium attendants.

The panel addressed one of the most important questions surrounding our industry these days. Who will lead us into The Next Space Age? Well …..The answer of such question is very simple. Gen Y is the next group of individuals that will take the lead in the Next Space Age. But the question goes beyond just defining the group of individuals that will lead the new work force. The age of space access for everyone is rapidly approaching and understanding how such a generation (group of individuals) works, interacts, thinks, behaves and communicates, is trivial to understand what the Next space Age will be all about. We started by telling the story of how each of the panelist got involved in the Space community and where we are today. Every story was unique and I believe each of us brought some sort of inspiration and hope to the audience. We discussed all the various things that defined our generation, we talk about how each us was making a difference in our current jobs and how was our generation as a whole impacting our own work field. We also talked about the importance of social media in our current industry, the need and importance of international collaboration in the space sector and since the majority of the panel was comprised of women, we addressed what it is like to be a women in the Aerospace Industry.

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After the panel was over, we got a GREAT deal of feedback and I have to say I was personally very flattered by all the comments and positive insight from the audience. The Space Foundation did a great job by increasing focus on "new generation space leaders" at the 25th National Space Symposium. I hope to see more of this effort in all the upcoming conferences and related space events.

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