Driving Innovation Through Collaboration Across the Space Enterprise

Aerospace hosted the 5th Annual Innovation Summit, a virtual event bringing together key technology executives to share insight and ideas on tackling some of the nation’s hardest problems.
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The space domain is undergoing an unprecedented era of change and this rapid transformation presents an exciting future with new possibilities for innovation.  But these opportunities also create new challenges and emerging adversaries that must be anticipated and addressed. Outpacing the threat will require more collaboration across the national security enterprise and the necessary integrated multi-domain operations will be facilitated by next-generation space technologies.

The Aerospace Corporation recently hosted the 5th Annual Innovation Summit, which brought together key technology executives from federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), government agencies, academia, non-profit organizations and industry to share insight and ideas on tackling some of the nation’s hardest problems. The theme of this year’s event, which was conducted virtually, focused on “Increased Collaboration to Address the Rapidly Changing Landscape Across the Space Enterprise, and the Multi-Domain Operations It Supports.”

“With more than 80 countries pursuing space programs currently, it really compels us to rethink how we build, wire and sustain our national assets, and how we incorporate innovation better. In general, I think the American public—who uses space before they have their first cup of coffee every morning—really needs to understand the threatening nature of what some of our adversaries are doing on orbit,” said opening keynote speaker Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of Space and Missile Systems Center. “I think there needs to be a more of general awareness of how much the nation relies on the space domain for so many different things.”

The three-day summit dedicated discussions to major themes, including the role of space-based sensors for combating climate change and catastrophic threats, ensuring supply chain resilience against disruptive shocks (cyber, physical or economic), and enabling collaboration to build the future digital engineering threads for a truly multi-domain joint force. 

“It’s urgent that we deliver the innovative technologies that are going to help outpace these threats and ultimately shape the future of space. All of us have a role to play. Innovation happens when we get different people with different perspectives coming together to solve these hard problems,” said Steve Isakowitz, president and CEO of Aerospace. “Increasingly, the problems we’re being asked to solve are too big for any one agency or organization to go it alone. We’re all capable of achieving great things on our own, but I believe that we’ll be even stronger together.”

The summit included breakout sessions designed to enable attendees to collaborate and ideate on integrated solutions for realistic “what-if” scenarios facing the space enterprise. The objective of the summit was to advance the processes, understanding and experiences that will be conducive to enhancing interorganizational integration and coordination in support of the nation’s space systems. 

FFRDCs, UARCs and non-profit organizations play a critical role as trusted partners supporting government customers in innovating, developing and integrating technology that advances the interests and security of the US and its allies. Fostering more strategic collaboration and partnerships throughout this unique community is essential to the nation’s continued success in staying ahead of the threat.

“I think this is an important step in growing a unified and collaborative voice across our organizations to make the whole of our capabilities greater than the sum of their parts,” said David Miller, chief technology officer for Aerospace.