The most frequently asked question I receive throughout the yearlong preparation for SATELLITE is: “What excites you most about this year’s program?” The honest answer, which I admit is disappointing, is that I find everything on the program exciting. What’s the point of featuring something on the program that isn’t exciting? My good friends and colleagues at Via Satellite, however, asked me to highlight some of SATELLITE 2017’s new features to familiarize attendees with the new format of the conference.
Attendees of past shows asked us to offer a variety of formats for conference activities and not just panel sessions. Last year, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and Future Space Leaders Foundation (FSLF) helped us launch the SGx event as a one-day series of short keynote addresses at SATELLITE and it was a huge success. SGx is returning to SATELLITE 2017, but we are expanding the idea to our Engineering and Innovation Forums on the main conference program. On Monday and Thursday, the Engineering Forum will present a series of 20-minute tech presentations, each with a unique topic, by a single speaker or small group of speakers. These topics were submitted to us during our call for presentations period last summer.
The Innovation Forum, which is more focused on solving market challenges through innovation and new business practices, will use that same format on Tuesday and Wednesday. We’re very excited about this because it provides an opportunity for satellite executives and engineers to be more creative with their presentations.
Startup Space is a brand new, one-day event that we’ve launched at SATELLITE 2017 in partnership with the Space Frontier Foundation (organizers of the NewSpace 2017 show), Ball Aerospace, Space Angels Network, RRE Ventures and Astia Capital. Startup Space is a Shark Tank-style competition where entrepreneurs pitch their business and technology ideas to a panel of highly accomplished space professionals, investors, thought leaders, and fellow entrepreneurs that include investors in SpaceX, Spire, Skybox, Planet Labs and even non-space-related products like Beats By Dr. Dre and Buzzfeed.
Twenty contestants were selected from more than 100 applications to compete. Each contestant will be placed into one of four groups. They are then each given five minutes to pitch their company or product in front of a panel of judges. This will be followed by a five-minute period during which judges will ask questions or make comments to the contestants. Judges will score the presentations based on a standardized set of various categories. The winner will receive guaranteed meetings with investment firms and free full-access admission to future SATELLITE and NewSpace shows. The contest takes place all day on Tuesday in the Exhibit Hall. The winners and prizes will be awarded on Wednesday, March 8, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the SATELLITE 2017 awards reception.
SATELLITE 2017 features the most comprehensive general session program in the show’s history. Each day of SATELLITE features an opening and closing general session and a keynote speaker. Monday’s keynote luncheon speaker is Will Porteous of RRE Ventures, one of the most active private investors in satellite last year, bookended by opening and closing general sessions featuring CTOs and tech leaders of the largest satellite companies operating on the ground.
Tuesday’s opening general session (previously known as “The Big Four” session) puts the five CEOs of Intelsat, Eutelsat, ViaSat, Inmarsat, and Telesat on the same stage as Jeff Bezos (founder of Blue Origin, and founder and CEO of Amazon) for an event that is FREE for all attendees. Tuesday’s closing general session boasts the CEOs of OneWeb, Arabsat, ABS, Yahsat and Hispasat.
Wednesday features U.S. Air Force Gen. David Thompson of Air Force Space Command as the keynote of the day, as well as the opening general session of executives from the largest satellite manufacturers (also free for all attendees) and the annual launch services panel as the big closer.
The fun even continues on Thursday with a Satellite Executive of the Year keynote, followed by a general session of leading companies from the entire satellite value chain outlining the future of the industry.
Finance Forum Satellite Bandwidth Pricing Roundtable (Monday at 3:35 p.m.) – I have no idea how Chris Baugh and his team at Northern Sky Research (NSR) pulled this off, but they got James Trevelyan (Arqiva), P.J. Beylier (SpeedCast), David Bruner (Panasonic Avionics), Tom Choi (ABS), and Mark Rigolle (LeoSat) together on a panel that will debate satellite bandwidth pricing! You know that’s going to be an exciting panel to watch.
Expanded Government & Military Program – This program now includes a day-long Monday conference forum directed by Access Intelligence’s Defense Daily publication. Defense Daily reporter Patrick Host has gathered a large group of Air Force and military speakers to talk about everything from rockets to a future U.S. Space Corps. The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) will run our core Government & Military Forum on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a brand-new NASA Hosted Payload workshop on Wednesday Morning.
5G Forum – We have a new partner with the EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA), which is running a new 5G Forum on Tuesday focusing on opportunities and challenges for satellite businesses in the era of 5G. This is complemented nicely by the Global VSAT Forum’s (GVF) Cybersecurity and Interference Forum on Wednesday, which will concentrate on some the bandwidth issues in this area.
Satellite Unveiled Theater (Wednesday, Exhibit Hall Theater) – See the latest satellite technology products live and in action on our new Exhibit Hall stage all day on Wednesday. We often talk about how satellite tech works during the conference, but we don’t actually get to see it working in person. This new event, also a series of short, rapid-fire presentations, is your chance! VS