NASA to Participate in ASCEND Conference, Brief Media on Tech Demo

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  October 20, 2022 
NASA to Participate in ASCEND Conference, Brief Media on Tech Demo
LOFTID flight aeroshell test
The flexible thermal protection system contains two outer surface layers made of ceramic fiber fabric, several layers of insulator, and then a gas barrier that prevents hot gases from getting to directly to the inflatable structure. The inflatable structure is a high temperature capable, flexible structure that is inflated to provide the cone shape that the FTPS drapes over.
Credits: NASA/Greg Swanson

NASA leaders, including Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, will participate in the 2022 ASCEND conference, hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in Las Vegas from Monday, Oct. 24, through Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Agency speakers will deliver remarks and participate in panels highlighting various topics, including NASA's Moon to Mars exploration goals, the future of space technology, scientific advances, and more. The full program for the conference is available online.

Many events will be available online to registered conference attendees.

Among the activities NASA is participating in are:

Monday, Oct. 24 (All times are Pacific)

8 a.m. – Keynote address from Melroy on Going Back to the Moon by Design, followed a panel on Partnering for Innovation in Cislunar Space. Panelists include:

  • Moderator: Ellen Ochoa, former NASA astronaut and former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Jim Free, associate administrator, NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate
  • Sandra Connelly, deputy associate administrator, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, director of staff, U.S. Space Force
  • Todd Nygren, senior vice president, Engineering and Technology Group, The Aerospace Corporation
  • Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer, SpaceX

12:45 p.m. – Overview of NASA’s Strategic Technology Framework. Panelists include:

  • Moderator: Julie Van Kleeck, space domain Lead and ASCEND executive producer, AIAA
  • Jim Reuter, associate administrator, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)
  • Michelle Munk, acting chief architect, STMD

Tuesday, Oct. 25 

7 a.m. – Media briefing on NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) technology demonstration and other tech development for entry, descent, and landing. Participants include:

  • Trudy Kortes, director of technology demonstrations, STMD
  • Michelle Munk, acting chief architect, STMD
  • Ashley Korzun, LOFTID aerodynamics database lead, NASA
  • Neil Cheatwood, LOFTID principal investigator, NASA

Members of the media can register for this briefing online regardless of conference registration status.

8 a.m. – Accelerating Space Exploration Through Global Cooperation.

Panelists include:

  • Moderator: Larry James, deputy director, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Peter Gräf, director of applications and science, German Space Agency (DLR)
  • Krunal Joshi, counsellor, Space (ISRO), Embassy of India
  • Nicolas Maubert, space counselor, Embassy of France in the United States; and Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) representative in the United States
  • Masami Onada, director, Washington office, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
  • Éric Vachon, director general, space science and technology, Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

Wednesday, Oct. 26 

12 p.m. – Leaving Earth to Serve the Earth: Commercial and Government Assets Having Positive Impact on Earth. Panelists include:

  • Kate Calvin, NASA chief scientist and senior climate advisor
  • Julie Robinson, deputy director, NASA Earth Science Division
  • Luciano Giesso, head of sales, global governments, Satellogic

For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit:



Press Contacts

Sarah Frazier
Headquarters, Washington


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