Space experts hold Space Futures Workshop

Seventy professionals from the space ecosystem gathered for the Space Futures Workshop, Nov. 29-30, to examine future technologies and forge a path towards ensuring the U.S. maintains its advantage in the increasingly congested and contested space domain.

Convened by NewSpace New Mexico, the event held at the University of Colorado Boulder, marked the fifth time that U.S. Space Force leaders and stakeholders met with industry leaders to quantify the global state of space and discuss future implications of defending U.S. interests in the domain.

Dr. Joel Mozer, director of Science, Technology and Research for the U.S. Space Force, and colleagues from the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, and Defense Innovation Unit listened as industry representatives shared concerns and visions for the future.

“To create a market for future goods and services in space, industry partners need reassurance that the Space Force will make these purchases like on-orbit fuel or refueling,” said Mozer. “We must relieve some of the risk to companies who must invest heavily in developing space technology.”

The group borrowed from NATO’s Long-Term Defense Planning process and designed the workshop around three steps to future planning:

  1. Construct realistic and detailed possible scenarios for the future.
  2. Identify the positive and negative aspects of those scenarios and develop strategies to move toward the positive and away from the negative outcomes.
  3. Determine the essential capabilities required to execute the strategies and develop long-term roadmaps for the needed science and technology.


“The Space Futures Workshop represents one of the ways that the U.S. Space Force performs strategic foresight for U.S. space-based capabilities,” Mozer said. “The Space Force remains in an active listening role, seeking to understand the ambitions, concerns and potential of the private sector.”

Mozer added these workshops are important for the U.S. Space Force to understand the potential directions in which the space domain and space technologies might evolve, to deepen its partnership with industry and identify critical investments for securing an enduring advantage, he said.

Col. Jeremy Raley, the director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, emphasized the value of collaboration with industry for future mission success.

“The Air Force Research Lab will experiment to anchor both the technical and the business and acquisition models that allow the Space Force to define new missions in support of an evolving importance and role for space,” Raley said. “AFRL will be the prototyping entity for designing and operating missions in a domain that is rapidly expanding from near-Earth to the Earth-moon system and beyond.”

Future workshops will help U.S. Space Force and national leadership decide major questions of policy, according to NewSpace New Mexico.

“We were pleased with the diverse representation from commercial space industry thought leaders,” said Casey Anglada DeRaad, CEO of NewSpace New Mexico. “Together, we are shaping the future and exploring the trade space that commercial contributions will bring in meeting the future requirements of the U.S. Space Force.”

Source: AFRL

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