A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft approaches to be captured by the robotic arm of the International Space Station, Canadarm-2.
More than 2,000 are expected to go to Houston this week for SpaceCom 2017, the third annual Space Trade Conference and Exhibition.
The conference will bring together commercial space flight innovators and leaders from December 5 to 7 to explore how space flight technology can once again boost the industry and how commercial space flight adventures can grow.
SpaceCom will include talks by Peggy Whitson, recently returned from her unprecedented stay at the International Space Station; Robert Lightfoot, interim administrator of NASA; as well as keynotes from representatives of the Italian Space Agency, United Launch Alliance, Inmarsat, Digital Globe, IBM Watson and more. The full list of speakers is extensive.
"The aerospace industry continues to be the focal point for SpaceCom, with an emphasis on fostering new public-private partnerships and exploring ways to engage directly with NASA, international space agencies and commercial space entrepreneurs." Representatives of SpaceCom said in a statement. "In addition, SpaceCom addresses opportunities for land-based industries such as agribusiness, energy and maritime to achieve valuable efficiencies through Earth observation and satellite services."
"The conference will also highlight new revolutionary opportunities for development and research in space that are now available for the medical and advanced manufacturing fields," they added.
In addition to the talks, attendees will visit a room with exhibitors such as NASA, United Launch Alliance, ATB Orbital, Boeing and Lockheed, as well as available astronauts for book signings and discussion, the conference's executive director, James Causey , he told Space.com earlier this year. A one-day entrepreneurial workshop will also allow companies to reach venture capitalists and angel investors.
This conference comes at an exciting time for commercial space flights, with the first manned commercial launches planned for the near future. SpaceX is preparing for the first test launch of its Falcon Heavy in the coming months, and Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft Starliner aims to launch a unscrewed launch next year. Both companies have committed to NASA to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, although SpaceX is already discussing the phasing out of that future rocket for a BFR megger. Companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin continue to drive future space tourism projects, and SpaceX has even announced a circuit around the moon for two paying pbadengers.
In addition, initiatives like the Google Lunar X Prize are encouraging privately-funded groups to go to space – that competition, whose deadline is currently March 2018, is to offer $ 20 million to the first of the five finalist teams to land a spaceship on the moon, move a specific distance and send photos and videos.
Sarah from Space.com Lewin (@ SarahExplains ) will be on the scene at SpaceCom to report on announcements and discussions as they unfold.