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The Space Generation Advisory Council is a global non-governmental, non-profit (US 501(c)3) organisation and network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia.



Day 1: Space Generation Fusion Forum 2017 Opening

4 April, 2017

The delegates arrived bright and early Sunday morning to some gorgeous Colorado Springs weather at the Broadmoor Hotel’s Cheyenne Lodge.  With help from Space Foundation and held in conjunction with the 33rd National Space Symposium, the Space Generation Fusion Forum is bringing together young professionals from government, industry and academia from around the globe to discuss space today and how the industry will look in the future.

This year’s theme is “The Evolving Space Frontier”

SGAC Executive Director Minoo Rathnasabapthy welcomed delegates from 18 different countries and introduced Steve Eisenhart, Senior VP of Strategic & International Affairs for Fusion Forum sponsor the Space Foundation

Steve shared 3 major tips for this year’s delegates:

  1. Be proud to be selected
  2. Be proud to be a space person
  3. Have fun!

On that note, the delegates broke into smaller groups for an “Icebreaker” activity where they introduced themselves, briefly explaining their background and what they hope to glean from their time at SGFF.


Steve Eisenhart, Vice President of Strategic and International Affairs at Space Foundation, opens SGFF 2017 with a keynote


After everyone broke for a quick coffee break, SGAC Co-chair Ali Nasseri introduced the first exciting keynote speaker of the day, Jan Wörner, ESA Director General.  Mr. Wörner discussed not only what goals ESA has, but how the member states work together to pick and prioritize those goals.  He also highlighted the differences in culture between ESA and NASA, culminating in a humorous video compilation highlighting the different ways each agency celebrated their Philae and Curiosity Landers successfully reaching their destinations. 

The next keynote speaker of the day was Rep. James Bridenstein from Oklahoma’s First District.  He highlighted the current gap between space technology and space policy and how there is a delicate balance that must be maintained between the commercial sector and governments to try and find a way to leverage space technologies in a way that not only benefits society as a whole, but still encourages commercial development. 


Congressman Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma's First District


Eight of this year’s delegates were highlighted in our “Ignite Talks” with each bringing a different topic and a unique perspective on the future of the Space Industry and how various sectors will impact that path.

Soon it was time for our luncheon graciously sponsored by Lockheed Martin. Retired Lockheed Martin Engineer Dr. Ben Clark shared not only his wealth of knowledge following decades of work on nearly every Martian mission, but what he saw as the challenges and possibilities of manned Mars missions in the future.

That very memorable keynote was followed by the introduction of and short discussion with each of the discussion track moderators. 

This year we had five discussion tracks, with the following moderators:

  1. Investing in Space/The New Space Economy – Andrew Rush, President, Made in Space
  2. Space Sustainability & Security – Phil Larson, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder
  3. Human Spaceflight – Dr. Michael Hawes, VP & Orion Program Manager, Lockheed Martin
  4. Science & Exploration – Dr. Jon Arenberg, Northrop Grumman
  5. Space for Earth – Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director, GSA


Discussion Group Moderators (from left): Andrew Rush (Made in Space), Dr Jon Arenberg (Northrop Grumman), Dr. Mike Hawes (Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company), Ali Nasseri (SGAC Chair), Stephanie Wan (outgoing SGAC Chair), Carlo des Dorides (European GSA), Minoo Rathnasabapathy (SGAC Executive Director), Alexander Gibson (SGFF 2017 Manager), Phil Larson (University of Colorado Boulder)


Once the discussion groups were over, Carlo des Dorides, Executive Direction of GSA gave a keynote speech about the opportunities afforded by the new Galileo satellite constellation and other topics such as the role of “big data” in space applications.

Following his keynote, one representative was chosen from each of the discussion groups in order to present what was discussed and any key highlights that they wanted to present to the rest of the Space Generation Fusion Forum delegates.


Delegate panel (from left): Brandon Seifart (USA), Minoo Rathnasabapathy (SGAC Executive Director), Oniosun Temidayo Isaiah (Nigeria), Jillian Yuricich (USA), Jan Lukačevič (Czech Republic NPoC), Alexander Gibson (SGFF 2017 Manager), Lauren Smith (USA NPoC), Ali Nasseri (SGAC Chair)


Our closing keynote speaker was former Astronaut Col. Paul Lockhart who provided some inspiring life lessons that he’s learned over long career and encouraged the delegates to “be bold” and go after their goals seeking mentorships along the way.


Col. Paul Lockhart, former NASA Astronaut


Overall, day one was a great success for our delegates which we owe to our speakers, moderators and the SGFF staff who worked to ensure that the day ran smoothly and stayed on schedule.  A special thanks goes to our sponsors, the Space Foundation, Lockheed Martin, GSA, Ball, Northrop Grumman, AGI, the Secure World Foundation, Ball and Overlook. 


6th Space Generation Fusion Forum group photo


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