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Russians will be among heavy hitters as 33rd annual Space Symposium convenes

April 1, 2017 Updated: April 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm
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For 32 years, the Space Symposium has brought together space leaders from around the world to discuss the further of space. The Broadmoor Hotel is the site of the symposium. Crews were hard at work on Sunday, April 10, 2016 to get the elaborate exhibitions up and running before the opening on Monday evening. Rachael Duffy and Eric Bluestein practice using an interactive map with the Raytheon exhibition. (photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette)

The 33rd annual Space Symposium returns to The Broadmoor this week with an anticipated record number of attendees, including the first significant participation by Russia in more than 20 years.

The four-day space festival, organized by the Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation, will feature more than 180 exhibitors, including 38 new international partners and space, government and defense officials from more than 30 countries.

"The Space Symposium is the premier space event in the world, so if you are a space nation - which Russia is - you want to be there," said Andy Merritt, chief defense industry officer for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC.

Russia's attendees are scheduled to include high level members of the ROSCOSMOS State Corporation for Space Activities, along with Russian Federation Embassy officials, who will participate in events such as the "Advancing Space Exploration Through International Collaboration: Cooperation with Russia" and "Space Agency Leaders" panels.

Other notable countries attending include China, Germany, South Korea, Japan and the European Commission.

"Countries have realized the value of working with each other in space exploration," Merritt said. "From the early days of space exploration, there has always been an effort by leaders to make space an area of cooperation as opposed to conflict."

In addition to the substantial international presence are the series of events focused on women in aerospace and developing young space professionals. The series - Women's Global Gathering New Generation Space Leaders and Space Generation Fusion Forum - are one way in which the Space Foundation is embracing change and growth within the space community.

"These people are literally the future of space exploration, and we are very serious about our role in making that future as bright as possible," said Kevin Cook, the vice president of marketing and communications for the Space Foundation.

Behind closed doors, leading defense and industry attendees with special clearances will participate in Space Classified and Cyber Classified series. Although the details of each event within the series are undisclosed, broad themes include how defense and industry leaders can "bring together diverse systems" for a more comprehensive response to threats. Speakers include executives from Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton and members of the Air Force Space Command.

Experiencing the symposium is costly, though, with tickets starting at $2,200. As custom, though, the annual Yuri's Night at the Discovery Center will be open to the public to attend on Sunday from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. Additionally, the Space Foundation will allow public access to a second event - the Women's Global Gathering luncheon on Thursday from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m. - for the first time.

Despite limited public access, the robust international presence at the symposium will continue to benefit aerospace corporations located and headquartered in Colorado Springs as well as the city's international reputation as a tourism destination.

"It's huge for Colorado Springs," Merritt said. "You're bringing high level decision-makers from corporations and national agencies from all over the world to Colorado Springs and exposing them to our community. These key people in the industry can see our city as a place for aerospace and a place to take their families on vacation."

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