The 42nd annual SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition was held at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington DC on March 13-16. With 13,959 registered professionals, 366 exhibitors and 55 sponsoring companies from 112 countries, the event further solidified itself as the premiere gathering for the advancement of satellite and space technology.
“The program was packed with sessions covering topics that are driving business and panels of executives sharing their forecasts and strategies for the future,” said Lindsey Fuller, show director of SATELLITE and senior vice president of Access Intelligence’s satellite and healthcare groups. “The show floor was also a hub of activity, with the largest number of exhibiting companies to date and an increase of 23 percent in Exhibit Hall attendance.“
Highlights from the conference program included:
- Monday kicked off with a fireside chat between one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital Tess Hatch (Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners) and Former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, author of the new best-selling book ‘Escaping Gravity.’ Their discussion covered the future of space exploration, critical investments in commercial space technologies, recruiting and retaining talent and how to tackle the issues and challenges addressed in her book.
- Aalyria, the Google spinoff that emerged from stealth mode in September, made its big-stage debut with a demonstration of its buzzy Spacetime software platform on Monday, March 13. Hours earlier, Aalyria announced its partnership with Rivada Space Networks, to support the buildout of its planned low earth orbit (LEO) constellation of 600 satellites inter-connected via laser links.
- On Tuesday, March 14, Amazon executive Dave Limp unveiled Project Kuiper User Terminals in front of a packed room while speaking with Via Satellite’s Mark Holmes. Amazon’s Project Kuiper will launch its first satellites this spring and expects to be beta testing with customers next year, with plans to put more than 3,000 satellites into LEO.
- During Tuesday’s Opening General Session, “Satellite Industry CEOs Look to the Future,” leaders from Eutelsat, Globalstar, Intelsat, Relativity Space and Viasat struck a cautiously optimistic note about the industry’s future, hailing innovations fueling the space economy, while cautioning industry stakeholders about looming threats that must be addressed.
- Via Satellite announced Melanie Stricklan, CEO, Slingshot Aerospace, as the winner of the 2022 Satellite Executive of the Year Award; Apple’s iPhone 14 Emergency Messaging Service via Satellite winner of the 2022 Satellite Technology of the Year Award during the Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, March 14.
Highlights from the exhibition included:
- The seventh Annual Startup Space pitch competition took place on Tuesday, March 14, putting nine entrepreneurs on stage in front of a panel of judges for a chance to win access to private pitch meetings with a group of active space investors. This year’s winner, the Canadian startup Magnestar, is building a clearinghouse to ensure and maintain high connectivity for all satellite operators through contested and congested environments amid disruptive RF noise.
- The largest Startup Pavilion to date, with 14 exhibitors in a dedicated area for new market entrants to showcase their innovative technologies to prospective investors, partners and buyers.
- Attendees got an insider’s look at leading companies’ latest technology with live demos, presentations, and new product launches from Firefly Aerospace, Kratos, Sasken, Keysight Technologies, Inmarsat, Blue Canyon Technologies, JSAT and Gomedia in the SATELLITE Unveiled Theater.
There was no shortage of contract announcements during the week. A few highlights include:
- Intelsat Taps Eutelsat to Boost Capacity Offerings
- CesiumAstro Jumps Into IFC Market With New Phased Array Antenna
- Delta Expands IFC Deal With Viasat to Widebody Fleet
- Apco Networks Orders 2 Astranis MicroGEO Satellites to Connect Mexico.
“SATELLITE 2023 saw an increased engagement in the conference program and several major announcements taking place during the event,” Fuller continued. “This is indicative of the importance SATELLITE plays in fostering business partnerships and keeping our industry moving forward.”
SATELLITE 2024 will be held March 18-21, 2024, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center located at 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington DC.