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Go For Launch! Meet the Keynote Speakers Who Will Be Speaking at SESA 2022

By Wes O’Donnell
Managing Editor, Edge

Last year, American Public University System and the Policy Studies Organization held the 2nd annual Space Education and Strategic Applications (SESA) conference.

This free online conference brought together astronauts, astrobiologists, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, students, and educators from across the galaxy, and encouraged them to have open conversations about pressing space issues that affect us all.

This year, the conference returns to Earth on September 23-24 and the theme is ‘Fifty Years from the Moon: The Future of Commercial, Government, and Military Space Exploration.’

In my work with the James Webb Space Telescope Project, I see firsthand the importance of coordinated communication within the space industry, where collaboration is the key to exciting new breakthroughs

Carl Starr, Missions Operations Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope and one of SESA 2022’s keynote speakers

The inaugural conference was held during the challenging times at the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. As a result, it was decided to hold the conference virtually.

This turned out to be a huge success as it allowed individuals from all over the world, who might not otherwise be able to travel, to attend.

This year SESA will remain virtual, which is great news for anyone interested in participating as an attendee to gain genuine insights from SESA’s incredible roster of speakers and panelists.

Who are this year’s keynote speakers?

Astronaut Dr. Sian Proctor, a pioneering woman of color in space, along with Carl Starr, Mission Operations Manager for NASA, have been selected as the keynote speakers for this year’s event.

Dr. Sian Proctor and Carl Starr each have decades of experience and significant scholarly contributions to Space Studies.

Dr. Proctor is a geoscientist, explorer, space artist, educator, and astronaut who is now the mission pilot for the Inspiration4, the first all-civilian mission to orbit space. She is also an analog astronaut, notably leading the all-female SENSORIA Mars 2020 mission at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Habitat.

“I believe that we all need to strive for a J.E.D.I. space: a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight,” said Dr. Proctor. “SESA offers an opportunity for our industry to come together at all levels and explore this mindset from many different, valuable perspectives—because when we solve for space, we also solve for issues on earth.”

Carl Starr — a 2020 Goddard Outstanding Public Leadership Medal recipient — is now Missions Operations Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, has been a part of the team since 2004. In his role, he is responsible for Observatory operations.

“In my work with the James Webb Space Telescope Project, I see firsthand the importance of coordinated communication within the space industry, where collaboration is the key to exciting new breakthroughs,” said SESA keynote speaker Carl Starr. “The third annual SESA conference is sure to lead to enriching conversations for space professionals, scholars, and students alike as we strive for new answers.”

SESA is still seeking proposals

The conference organizers are still accepting proposals with an early deadline of April 29, however, some proposals may be considered after this date. Topics include science, engineering, law, exploration, commercial and military development, education, telecommunications, industry, medicine, defense and security, and women in space.

In addition, proposals are welcome that meet at the intersection of science and ethical issues. They may be in the form of individual presentations, panels, workshops, or roundtables.

For questions, or to submit a proposal, please contact Daniel Gutierrez, PSO Executive Director, at dgutierrezs@ipsonet.org.

Space now touches nearly every modern industry. Check back at AMU Edge for upcoming registration details to attend and don’t miss this incredible conference.

Wes O’Donnell is an Army and Air Force veteran and writer covering military and tech topics. As a sought-after professional speaker, Wes has presented at U.S. Air Force Academy, Fortune 500 companies, and TEDx, covering trending topics from data visualization to leadership and veterans’ advocacy. As a filmmaker, he directed the award-winning short film, “Memorial Day.”

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