By Dr. Gary L. Deel, Ph.D., J.D.
Associate Professor, Wallace E. Boston School of Business
The Space Education and Strategic Applications (SESA) Conference has been co-hosted by the University every year since 2020. It is held every fall as an event where space industry leaders, thinkers, and enthusiasts can meet and collaborate to discuss the future of human exploration and development in space. This year, this conference will take place on September 22-23.
In addition to the SESA conference, the University also sponsors the SESA academic journal. It is a bi-annual research and scholarship publication, available in a print version and an online version.
I have been a presenter at the SESA Conference each year, talking about topics such as private-sector space industry updates and the future of space innovation. I am also one of the co-editors in chief of the SESA academic journal, so I have a clear interest in supporting the mission of SESA in all of its pursuits.
However, the SESA Conference is worth attending for anyone interested in space news, innovations, research, science, policy and education. And here are five practical reasons why this conference is worth visiting.
#1: Learn about Space News and Innovations at the SESA Conference
Now is a time of tremendous growth and development in space activity. National space agencies around the world are gearing up for the next big missions on the horizon, exploring new frontiers and pushing the boundaries of what is possible for humans in outer space.
But the really drastic changes are coming from the private sector. Major players like SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and others are paving the way to a future of space commerce that is driven more by the private sector than by government space agencies. It’s an exciting era, and the SESA Conference always features keynote speakers and presenters with private-sector connections who can share an insider’s look at what is happening on the ground.
Related link: Spin Launchers for Space Missions Are Now Coming Around
#2: Get More Information about Current Space Research and Science
From a research perspective, human space exploration is still very much in its infancy. We began our exploration of space nearly 70 years ago with the first satellites in space. A few decades later, the first human astronauts came.
But in all the time since then, we’ve done relatively little to move the needle. For a while, space has been considered by many people as a special interest that does not deserve public time, attention or funding.
But that attitude is changing, and it seems that today, we are poised to make major leaps in space development. There are both public and private efforts underway to build new space stations, return to the Moon, bring humans to Mars for the first time ever and tackle a number of other exciting goals. The research and scientific efforts that support these future missions are always in the spotlight at the SESA Conference, so this is another great reason to attend.
#3: Hear the Discussions about Space Policy at the SESA Conference
One of the oft-overlooked areas in space activity and development is space policy, but its importance is critical to the future of human activity in space. As different countries and private-sector companies continue to develop our space exploration capabilities, we must address unprecedented legal policy questions. For instance:
- Who owns the planets and the moons to which we might one day venture?
- How do we determine who can claim rights to mine asteroids and comets?
- What should the limits of militarization in space be?
- Where are different space agencies allowed to place their space stations and satellites in orbit?
These questions are critical to the stable and peaceful development of human activity in space. The SESA Conference always includes talks and panel discussions on the different points of view that must be considered as lawmakers and international governing bodies seek to resolve these legal issues.
#4: Space Educators Talk about Ways to Improve Space Studies Programs
Space studies is not necessarily an extremely common academic choice for incoming students. But it is growing in popularity. The University offers one of the only fully online degree programs in space studies – with associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level programs available to students.
I am actually a graduate of all three of the University’s space studies programs, and I can speak to what a fulfilling and enjoyable experience they are. Space studies programs like ours can be useful for students who seek the knowledge to guide both public and private space efforts into the coming years and decades, and so making sure these academic programs are of optimal quality is essential.
The SESA Conference makes space studies education a focus of the event. Space educators from many different backgrounds attend this conference to talk about how schools and programs can stay relevant and improve on the status quo.
#5: There Is No Cost to Attend the SESA Conference
As one last selling point for attending the SESA Conference, I would be remiss if I did not point out that this conference is completely free. At a time when professional and academic conferences routinely charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for attendee registration, the value of a free experience like the SESA Conference cannot be overstated. And the SESA Conference is fully online, which means that there aren’t any travel or lodging costs for attendees either.
As a supporter and contributor, I may be biased. But for these five reasons and many more, I think that the SESA Conference is well worth attending for anyone involved in space-related initiatives or anyone simply interested in learning more about what is happening in various space exploration and development sectors.