news | 9 June 2022

DOD and New Space New Mexico Conclude 4th Annual Space Conference To Advance Prosperity, Sustainability, and U.S. Space Leadership


Public-private space leaders gather to evaluate progress on past recommendations and produce report for future action

June 9, 2022 (Albuquerque, NM)—Industry and government thought leaders gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the fourth annual State of the Space Industrial Base (SSIB) Workshop between May 31-June 3, 2022 to assess the health of, and provide recommendations to sustain, the United States’ leadership and advantage in space. Previous SSIB reports provided in-depth assessments and actionable recommendations for U.S. leadership. This year’s theme was "Prosperity & Sustainability: Winning the New Space Race."  

More than 350 representatives from industry, academia, government and the investment community attended the combination live-virtual conference hosted by New Space New Mexico and led by the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, Defense Innovation Unit, the United States Space Force, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Several high-level officials, including the NASA Administrator and Space Force leadership, shared strategic assessments on key areas of focus.  

Conference participants formed working groups to provide unfiltered feedback to the government articulating industry needs for success and impediments to competing economically with China. Working group areas included In-Space Transportation and Logistics, Remote Sensing & Traffic Management, Next Generation Power & Propulsion, Workforce Education & Stem, Hybrid Space Communications, and Space Policy Economy & Financial Engineering. 

Major initial findings from the workshop include: 

  • Commercial space technology has forever changed the nature of conflict as evidenced by its contribution to the defense of Ukraine. Remote sensing, advanced analytics, and broadband communications are just a few of the tactical solutions that have had strategic impact on Putin’s unprovoked invasion.

  • China is on track to surpass the U.S. as the dominant space power as early as 2032 unless proactive measures are taken now to sustain our nation’s leadership. China has already surpassed the U.S. in some key areas closely related to space, e.g. quantum, hypersonics.  

  • An enduring North Star vision of economic development and  human settlement in space is an essential guidepost to sustain the United States’ competitive advantage against a rapidly-advancing China. 

  • In order to save the planet, we must get off-planet. Advancements in off-world power production, manufacturing, and lunar resource extraction will be foundational to the multi-trillion dollar space economy inherited by our grandchildren.

  • The agile engineering ecosystem that has become the hallmark of the new space era is at risk due to U.S. policy and procurement practices put in place by Robert McNamara in 1962 when the government was the source of innovation leadership.

  •  We are not making sufficient progress on strengthening the space industrial base, setting standards and making headway against recommendations from previous years’ SSIB recommendations.

A separate workshop for Launch Services was held at Cape Canaveral, Florida in May and hosted by Space Florida. The report summarizing the insights and conclusions from SSIB 2022 is expected to be released in August.

The views expressed in SSIB Conference and Report do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense, NASA or the U.S. government.