Commercial Spaceflight Conference Launches in California Thursday

Deep Space Industries Wheel Habitat
An artist's concept of a wheel habitat under construction at an asteroid, a vision of space settlement by the asteroid-mining company Deep Space Industries. (Image credit: Deep Space Industries)

SAN FRANCISCO - Legions of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are gathering in Silicon Valley this week to discuss the rise and impact of the commercial space industry.

The Space Frontier Foundation's annual NewSpace conference runs from Thursday through Saturday (July 25-27) in San Jose, Calif. Among the many speakers are NASA deputy chief Lori Garver, Commercial Spaceflight Federation president Michael Lopez-Alegria and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

"The three-day event will focus on the current, near-term, and future potential and challenges of the emerging commercial space industry," Space Frontier Foundation officials wrote on the NewSpace 2013 website.

"People from throughout the space, advocacy and technology industries to those in startups, government and media bring their ideas for opening the high frontier, making this conference a hotbed of innovation and partnership," they added.

Panels at NewSpace 2013, which is being held at the DoubleTree Inn in San Jose, will address a variety of topics, including the commercial research potential of the International Space Station; the challenges and promise of space mining; new technologies that could aid space exploration and settlement; and the current legal landscape of space-resource utilization.

Such discussions are becoming more and more timely, as the commercial space sector has been gathering momentum over the last few years. Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace, for example, may begin launching paying customers to suborbital space within the next year or so.

Further, two separate companies — Deep Space Industries and the billionaire-backed Planetary Resources — recently announced their ambitions to mine water and precious metals from near-Earth asteroids. And a handful of other firms, such as Moon Express and the Shackleton Energy Company, aim to extract resources from the moon.

Those who can't make it to San Jose can still watch the sessions, which will be streamed live via If possible, will carry  For more information, visit the NewSpace 2013 website:

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.