A conference this November aims to help make it easier for companies to profit in space.
The SpaceCom meeting and expo, to be held in Houston from Nov. 15 through Nov. 17, will feature keynote speeches by number of prominent people, including Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow, SpaceX Director of Crew Operations Garrett Reisman and Jean-Jacques Dordain, former director general of the European Space Agency (ESA).
While those presentations will be highlights, SpaceCom won't be just talk. Workshops will give people from various companies the chance to get to know each other and discuss topics such as water, climate, natural resources, remote medicine, 3D printing and infrastructure. [Private Spaceflight: News About Private Space Companies]
"NASA and the International Space Station are still an integrated part of the space market we are talking about, but we want to grow it with this business-to-business component," SpaceCom Executive Director James Causey told Space.com.
This will be SpaceCom's third annual conference, and it will focus heavily on data, Causey said — how information can flow from space to Earth, and what companies can do with that information.
SpaceCom will be an international experience, with representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Brazil, Canada and other countries. Companies will hail from at least five major sectors: advanced manufacturing, maritime, agriculture, medical and energy.
Several major space agencies (including NASA and ESA) will be represented, as will other government organizations such as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Investors from Silicon Valley and elsewhere will also attend.
"It is crucial here to build a sustainable market, [and crucial] that we help and develop entrepreneurial-type businesses, not just well-established ones," Causey said.
This year's conference theme of focusing on data, he said, will be especially appropriate for people looking for new business opportunities.
"The number of satellites is increasing geometrically right now, and the volume of sensing data that's coming down from all of these satellites is creating a tsunami of information," Causey said. "We are working with the ways to digest that information, repackage it, and make it applicable to the five industries we are working with."
Dynamic trade-show floor
Causey said that about 150 companies will be represented on SpaceCom's 25,000-square-foot (2,320 square meters) trade-show floor. NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) — the company that manages the U.S. lab on the International Space Station — will also have large presences.
But amid the booths will be two large spaces devoted to pushing technology forward. An "innovation space" will have regular half-hour mini-lectures on space topics. There will also be a virtual reality theater with 10 sets of glasses for attendees to get "some really exciting content," Causey said.
The founding sponsors of SpaceCom are Boeing, CASIS, the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Spaceport, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin, MEI Technologies and its spin-off company Alpha Space, Orbital ATK, Satellite Applications Catapult, Winstead Attorneys, and Wyle. (Space.com is a media partner for the conference.)
You can learn more about the conference at http://spacecomexpo.com/.