These 2023 SXSW Space Panels are Out of this World!

Our 2023 Space Panel Picks for SXSW — Cast Your Vote Today!
SXSW 2022 was out of this world –featuring a fantastic mix of space programming, meetups and events (including our very own Space and Defense Innovation VIP Reception).

As one of the top technology events in the world, we want to ensure people hear from leaders within the space community at SXSW 2023. But we need your help to make it happen!

SXSW selects topics and panels based on community voting and engagement. On average, over 4,000 panels are submitted, with only 400 selected.

Want to help bring more space-related content to SXSW in 2023?

  • Voting is quick and easy. Follow the link to the short registration form.
  • Once you get there, you can copy and post any or all of the panel names below to vote quickly.

Our Top Space Picks

For those of you interested in defense innovation programming you will find a list of our top picks for SXSW Defense Innovation Panels here:

Below you will find a full breakdown of each of these panels and their speakers:

Space Sustainability & the 2nd Golden Age of Space


SpaceWERX, the US Space Force’s innovation office, seeks to discover and adapt innovation and capabilities from the fast growing space industry toward USSF mission needs and National Security interests. The office funds startup companies to explore product-mission fit which then inform make or buy decisions for later USSF adoption.

SpaceWERX recently launched Orbital Prime, the 1st US effort aimed at demonstrating on-orbit Active Debris Remediation as part of the USSF’s commitment to a sustainable space domain. Orbital Prime aims to unlock the commercial market for In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM), a nascent and completely new upstream market segment within the growing Space economy, by partnering with International, Venture, Academic, and Commercial communities.

Running out of Space: A New Look at Space Junk


Just as humankind is responsible for a sustainable future on Earth, we are also responsible for a sustainable future in space. Millions of pieces of space junk orbit our planet, threatening everything from our phone GPS to our ability to monitor and respond to natural disasters. As Earth’s orbit becomes increasingly cluttered, this debris also endangers our future off-planet as we continue to explore the final frontier. Join a panel of experts to discuss what is being done, and what needs to be done, to promote orbital sustainability and take out the space trash.

The Next Space Race: How to Compete w/ China


The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is intent on undercutting the U.S. on the world stage economically and militarily. Whether it is through cyber-attacks, political influence efforts or industrial espionage, the PRC aims to strengthen their own system of government while weakening international institutions and democratic norms and advancing their authoritarian model of governance globally. As the PRC pursues its global ambitions, we must find ways to better protect U.S. national and economic security. Both the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and the Ranking Member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), believe solutions to countering China will take strong bipartisan leadership.

No BS: Bringing Humanities Degrees to Space


Tech and innovation companies are eager for talent without STEM degrees and backgrounds. Notably, aerospace companies want people to reimagine our conceptions of rocket scientists and astronauts. Learn what skills help enable flight or launch a satellite into orbit. Join experts from the biggest aerospace groups as they highlight the value of bringing the humanities to space and the critical role the thousands of non-engineers hold in fulfilling their missions to go higher, faster, and farther.

Space 4.0 – Securing the Final Frontier


The Space 4.0 era brings a rapidly changing evolution of the space sector. Lower cost of space launch and public/private partnerships open a whole new dimension of connectivity. Securing our data on earth is challenging, so what happens when our data travels through space-datacenters and satellite links?

This session will present new models with a focus on the risks for enterprise and the changes that are coming with the Space 4.0 era. This will be a visionary, forward looking examination from a leading strategic threat intelligence expert that sets a placeholder for a new revelation from research now in progress. The audience will see a demo of how ransomware can be spread through satellite monitoring networks.

Preventing Space Weather Disasters


Storms erupting from the sun have been known to knock satellites and power grids offline. As society grows more dependent on technology, the effects from such “space weather” events will become more impactful. Our knowledge of what drives space weather is decades behind our knowledge of what drives weather on Earth. Better protection against solar eruptions requires a better understanding of the sun-earth relationship. The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii is taking extreme close-ups of the sun’s surface, revolutionizing the understanding of the sun and what drives catastrophic space weather. This will enable better future models for predicting solar storms and enhancing society’s ability to mitigate against their hazards.

How Space and Tech Can Change the World


The session will consist of industry experts from the space and technology industry talking about how their novel tech ideas can be put in the hands of every human with a computer or phone to enable change for the betterment of our future generations. From software to satellites, the space industry is rapidly changing and is no longer just for government use. Panelists will talk about their individual experiences and how each is trying to change the world through novel ideas. Industry experts consist of satellite makers, technologists, and business leaders all striving for one goal- to empower individuals to change the world.

The Future of Space-Based Intelligence


Four directors from space-based intelligence agencies (NRO, NSA, NGA, and ODNI) participate in a one-hour panel moderated by a space industry scholar or pop culture figurehead to discuss the future of space-based intelligence. We are planning to ask Neil deGrasse Tyson or potentially an actor from Star Wars to moderate. This person has not been identified yet.

How Space Will Save Earth


Many people know that satellites are monitoring climate change so that the right resources can be used to stop us from destroying planet earth. Well, the numbers of significant ideas aimed for space that is now helping save our world are numerous. Many also know about the fabric GoreTex and that it originate from space suits. A great space-innovation that served the human race on earth well. And there are thousands of examples. But still room for many more to be put into action down here. In this session I will reveal a list of already existing space innovations that easily can be used on earth for great positive effect on climate change and the way we wisely use resources. My dear colleague prof. and astronaut Christer Fuglesang will help me find and verify the bullet points on list.

From Sea to Space: Autonomous Robotics & Drones


Autonomous robots and drones are helping to complete all sorts of tasks, from rovers collecting samples on Mars, to multicopters providing entertaining light displays, to submersibles monitoring sea life deep in the oceans. Like the various applications, the people who pilot these vehicles are equally diverse, coming from different backgrounds and professional experience. This meetup brings together everyone interested in drones and robotics: from amateur pilots, to engineers and executives who build them and develop software for them, to those working in professions who are using or could benefit from drones and robotics. Join us to connect, network, and learn more about how these autonomous robots are changing the world.

The Future of 3D Printing in Space


This session would focus on talking about the 3d printing technologies and applications that are revolutionizing the space industry, especially on the rocket launching. With this session, you would have a wide variety of knowledge about disrupting innovations in the Metal, Ceramics, and Plastics 3D printing industries, as well as learn from lead experts on the industry and how is the economy moving to a more sustainable future for space exploration thanks to these technologies by reducing lead time, as well as making the process more efficient and improving some major components like satellites, antennas, boosters, among several others applications and how are the parts being tested.

Citizen Astronauts Go To Space, for Earth


Hear from citizen astronauts, like Katya Echazarreta, and others about how and why visiting space has the potential to impact the future of humanity for the better. This panel, moderated by Space for Humanity’s executive director Rachel Lyons, will explore the importance of expanding access to space to a more diverse group of citizen astronaut leaders and how The Overview Effect is being integrated into the organization’s leadership training to build programs for astronauts to make an impact in their communities based on their experience in Space. Get an insider’s perspective on the future of citizen astronaut opportunities and why we believe that going to Space, for Earth is critical to the future of humanity.

NASA’s Search for Life: Are We Ready to Find It?


From the dusty, red surface of Mars to the atmospheres of strange, far-off exoplanets, NASA scientists are hard at work searching for signs that life exists, or has existed, beyond Earth. But if we find concrete evidence of life in the cosmos, what then? How might this discovery forever shift our view of humanity and our place in the universe?

This panel will pair scientists and science communicators to discuss their perspectives on what this new reality would actually look like, including the research of current NASA missions that are searching for signs of life. The panelists will also share their thoughts on space exploration, examining the question of: “Why do we search for life?”

New Media for the New Space Age


Astronaut Dr. Sian Proctor will engage in discussion between today’s leading space documentarians on what it’s like to chase rockets and report from the forefront of our thrilling new space age.

Hear from today’s leading space explorers, YouTubers, and rocket photographers about what it’s like to document the new space age. The discussion will focus on the unprecedented access and visibility the direct access the public has to witness the development, testing, and launching of spacecraft destined to usher in the next wave of human space exploration.

The panel blends the point of view and experience of news correspondents, scientists, and those who can explain the technologies involved, with the aesthetic sensibilities of artists, photographers, and filmmakers.

Unfold The Universe: NASA’s Webb Space Telescope


NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), released its first full-color images and spectroscopic data on July 12, 2022. As the largest and most complex observatory ever launched into space, Webb went through a six-month period of preparation before it began science work, calibrating its instruments to its space environment and aligning its mirrors. These experts will talk about Webb’s latest scientific discoveries, and how Webb will continue to explore the uncharted territories of our cosmos.

There are No Gas Stations in Space #SolarEnergy


NASA uses solar energy to power its missions and is looking for ways to advance solar technology. The Sun is the largest power source in space, producing more power per second than humanity has consumed in the past 70 years. Most spacecraft use solar panels to harness the Sun’s continuous energy and provide power for various needs such as thermal and payload operations. Solar panels are designed around two key factors: size and reliability, which have been difficult to optimize. NASA is developing new deployable structures and technologies for solar sail propulsion systems. Similar to how sailboats use the wind in a sail as their power source, solar sails employ the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, eliminating the need for conventional rocket propellant.

Space Innovations Changing the World


From water purification systems to smartphones, space exploration produces infinite innovations that impact daily life on Earth. Though referred to as frivolous, costly, and even dangerous exploration of the final frontier has long fostered true ingenuity and invention. Most importantly, it has driven profound shifts in perceptions of our planet. Known as The Overview Effect, astronauts (and increasingly space tourists) have begun to view Earth from an entirely new perspective after witnessing it thrive against the stark darkness of space. This panel of experts from a unique cross-section of industries discuss this phenomenon, the significant contributions space exploration has given us, and what it will yield in the future with the evolving space tourism market.

Satellite Second Chance


If satellites suddenly disappeared, we would lose many of the services we rely on – telecommunications, weather reports, and more. Yet despite our dependence on these satellites, their lifecycle hasn’t changed in years: Build it, send it into space, then repeat when it runs out of fuel. Every year 10-20 satellites in geostationary orbit are shut down because they run out of fuel. But what if we could disrupt that cycle to make space more sustainable? Enter in-space satellite servicing technologies like the Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs), which dock to satellites to provide life extension services. This panel will explore groundbreaking technologies like the MEVs and how they can be used to reuse, repair, and recycle spacecraft to help bring environmental sustainability to space.

NASA’s Extreme Science


NASA’s scientists and engineers are exploring Earth’s largest cave systems caves with spelunking robots, camping on Alaskan ice while plunging submersibles below the surface, and floating balloon-borne telescopes to the stratosphere from Antarctica, all for the sake of scientific exploration. Join a discussion with members of NASA’s expedition teams to learn why we must travel to the edges of Earth in order to explore space and how stories of these gripping research adventures are shared.

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