Premier space event marks another outstanding show


Space Tech Expo USA blasted off in Pasadena, California last month, marking another immensely successful edition of the premier trade show for an industry that is growing exponentially.

More than 3,000 industry professionals attended, visiting the exhibition stands of almost 250 leading space-tech companies. Far-reaching in scope, the show covered everything from new market launches through companies and products already in orbit, to those on the ground providing engineering and manufacturing services; held an expert-led conference; and provided a unique meeting place for industry players to connect and forge new business ties.

The show received fantastic feedback from attendees. Nikki Malcolm, business development manager at Element Materials Technology, said: “It’s been absolutely amazing, very relevant with customers needing exactly what we have to offer right away!”

Planewave’s marketing director, Ralph Emerson, agreed: “This show has been fantastic for us, we’ve been treated extremely well by the show management and the people that have attended have come to us with lots of ideas and there’s many new potential customers, so we’re thrilled!”

Space Tech Expo USA 2019 opened with a VIP launch party – a great opportunity for exhibitors and invited VIPs to meet ahead of the main event while enjoying drinks, canapes and live music, and one that many took up; the floor was abuzz with activity as guests enjoyed the musicians, played at the casino tables, and admired the display of space art. Guests were then treated to a two hour preview of the exhibition, plus exclusive talks and demos on the show floor.

At the main event, many were impressed with how the show has expanded and developed in response to industry needs. Returning features included the Free Technical Sessions, comprising technical presentations around the four focus areas of the show: aerospace testing; industry 4.0, components, parts and assemblies; and space system development. New for 2019 were the 360 Sessions – roundtables giving attendees a platform to discuss specific industry challenges and developments with aerospace industry peers. Roundtable leaders included Honeywell – on the importance of rad-hard by design – and NTS, exploring how to bridge the gap between testing and simulation analysis. The session on startups led by Starburst proved particularly popular; standing room only served to reinforce the widely held stats on rapid startup growth in the space market.

“I think it’s fascinating, this is the first one of these shows I’ve ever been to,” said NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Dr Raymond ‘Corky’ Clinton, associate director of its science and technology office. “Most of the conferences I attend now are more focused on additive manufacturing or advanced manufacturing, so to see the breadth of technology that’s presented here is fabulous – very, very interesting."

The exhibition prides itself on being America’s meeting place for space technology, and for many, the show provides an unparalleled opportunity to shore up existing business links and, of course, make new ones. Andy Kieatiwong, founder and CEO of Additive Rocket Corporation, commented: “This year has been a lot more productive than last year. We were very surprised because last year we thought it was a huge success but this year we’ve made a lot more traction on the business end. There’s a lot of launch vehicle companies here in LA that came to see us and came to the expo just to talk to us, so we’ve actually made a lot of progress in terms of business on our sales front, just in the past three days, so it’s been really amazing.”

And Additive Rocket Corporation weren’t the only ones to establish new business – visiting companies took advantage of the new B2B Matchmaking feature, a pre-bookable meetings service connecting exhibitors with primes.

At the heart of the show, attendees were able to discover first-hand brand-new technologies and solutions coming to market, with many products being unveiled for the first time at the exhibition. It was also an opportunity for companies to demonstrate new products. Zemarc was among those to take part. “We had fantastic attendance at our booth – with people checking out our live demos and our hexapod!” said Brad Belote, a Zemarc aerospace sales engineer.

“It’s been awesome,” agreed Al Tadros, VP of space infrastructure and civil space at MAXAR Technologies. “We’ve had a lot of great discussions, a lot of good meetings and I really enjoyed the panel that I talked on yesterday too. Our booth had a lot of traffic from customers and suppliers!” 

Running alongside the exhibition was the ever-popular Space Tech Expo Conference, where discussions and debates really took off. Pre-conference workshops equipped delegates with the very latest information on everything from manufacturing 4.0 investments and implementations, to the future of electric propulsion, and a blockchain technology bootcamp also took place ahead of the main conference, led by experts from IBM.

The conference was a resounding success, deep-diving into the space-tech industry and covering in detail everything from the revised commercial launch regulations and optimizing mission agility, to the surge in Chinese launch activity and how to work with the industry’s biggest names. Delegates came away better informed and equipped to work in this rapidly changing sector.

Every year, Space Tech Expo and Conference USA expands in size and scope, delivering outstanding content for every segment of the space sector. Save the date for next year’s edition in Long Beach, CA: May 18-20, 2020.