Space Tech Expo USA 2017 successfully re-entered Pasadena last month as industry insiders clustered at America’s premier free-to-attend space event.
Drawing in more attendees than ever before, the Pasadena Convention Center thrummed with activity as industry peers gathered to share ideas, showcase new products, and discover the very latest in space-related technology. More than 5,000 people registered to see and test out new products and technologies from technical designers, sub-systems suppliers, and manufacturers who serve the civil, military, and commercial space sectors. Together, they made up the highest visitor count in Space Tech Expo’s six-year history.
As well as being a place to network, source new business opportunities, and share knowledge, 2017’s the show delivered a unique insight into the evolution of the sector. Speakers, topics, and products were carefully curated and aligned closely with the interests of visitors, with content chosen for its industry-wide relevance. The calibre and diversity of attendees was testament to this.
The free attendee pass offered access to three days of trade show activity, where major industry players including NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, JPL, Motiv Space Systems, NRO, and BAE Systems were among some 245 cutting-edge industry suppliers displaying their technology on the show floor.
New to this year was the Product Showcase – a complimentary chance for industry leaders to present their innovations. “The product demos have been wonderful,” said Thomas Thompson, vice president of business development at AssetSmart. “The ability to demonstrate your products and talk about the specifics in front of potential customers is great.”
SCHURTER showcased its new High-Current Space Fuse for space applications, while Airwolf 3D demonstrated the features of their AXIOM 3D printer, capable of multi-material printing, and Sonnet Suites demoed their latest software offering: the Sonnet Suite Version 16.54. One hotly anticipated showcase came from MAKEiT Pro, who unveiled their 3D printer instilling fused-filament fabrication technology. Many companies, including THK America, turned heads with interactive booths: “Our robot has been a great attention grabber – we’ve had lots of leads and it’s been successful,” said Jazmine Moore, the company’s marketing specialist.
This sentiment was echoed by numerous exhibitors, while others were impressed by the representation from all corners of the space tech industry. Tesla Foundation Group’s CEO, Keith Kaplan, commented, “It’s wonderful to see all the different advanced manufacturing, space engineering, space research, and different public and private organizations involved in the aerospace community.”
Also included in the free visitor pass was access to the Open Tech Forum, a series of more than 40 educational sessions where companies and experts shared insights on their specialisms. On the first day, attendees enjoyed a comprehensive talk from the NASA Glenn Research Center’s Michael Barrett, who discussed the technology that is set to change the face of deep space travel. His presentation set the tone for three days of exciting, insightful exploration into some of the industry’s hottest topics. As part of the forum, the popular Gov/Mil/Primes requirements day returned, giving visitors a rare opportunity to find out how to work with the government and military sector, as well as networking time with organizations that are usually off the radar. The forum proved to be incredibly popular, with Caltech’s Professor Soon-Jo Chung attracting huge crowds to his presentation on the shift to building components and satellites in space, and how this could transform the space industry.
Running alongside the exhibition and forum was the Space Tech Expo Conference, which kicked off with a keynote panel on enabling the space enterprise vision. High-level speakers from Raytheon, the US Air Force, and Air Force Space Command shared insights into how this vision can be made operationally resilient and affordable in an open and engaging session, which marked the launch of a series of captivating presentations and considered discussions. The conference segued from keynotes to panels and audience-interactive discussions, with a stand-out session on ‘outlining recommendations for improving US commercial space competitiveness’, which featured speakers from Orbital ATK, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Boeing.
As day one closed, visitors flocked to the free networking reception where they were able to mingle with industry peers and connect with current and potential suppliers, buyers, and clients. R3SpACE Consulting’s president, Carl Frushon, said, “It’s been a brilliant experience. We’ve been speaking to a spectrum of people, from small business to large corporations, trying to make connections between businesses and find opportunities to help solve problems – this is the place to be!”
Other testimonials conveyed the quality and reach of Space Tech Expo. “We've been able to find vendors we've been looking for and find an engraving system we've been having a hard time locating,” said Edvin Mehrabian, manufacturing engineer at Northrop Grumman.
As three days of exciting industry activity wrapped up, many were already looking ahead to Space Tech Expo 2018 and Space Tech Expo Europe, which takes place later this year. Daniel Auh, Director of Sales and Marketing at Ducommun, is one of those forward-thinkers: “We’ve had more opportunities than last year already and we’re looking forward to displaying at Space Tech Expo Europe!”
See you next year — May 22-24, 2018, Pasadena, CA, USA