Press Release

AFWERX Announces Line-Up of Nationally Acclaimed Speakers for EngageSpace Innovation Event

By SpaceRef Editor
September 24, 2020
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AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force’s innovation catalyst, announces the final line-up of nationally acclaimed keynote speakers and panelists for EngageSpace, the premier interactive collaboration event for the space industry. Join AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force for thistwo-day interactive virtual event September 29-30, 2020.

EngageSpace will feature highly engaging opportunities to connect, educate and innovate with other like-minded attendees, industry leaders, individual innovators, academia, investors, as well as military and government leaders. With its highly interactive format and diverse participants, the event is designed to revolutionize how the space ecosystem works, dismantle the walls between sectors and close the “believability gap” for what’s possible in space.

The event will offer guest speakers with cutting-edge content, panel discussions tackling tough topics in atypical formats, and networking opportunities focused on catalyzing government and industry while fostering connections. Dedicated Space Coaches will also be available for each participant to facilitate connections and collaboration opportunities with the U.S. Air Force. Concurrently, over 175 selected companies and teams will showcase the latest space innovations and technologies from solutions submitted to four of the space-focused AFWERX Challenges to support specific needs of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force.


Featured Speakers & Panels:

Join industry leaders across the space ecosystem from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, NASA, Defense Innovation Unit, entrepreneurs, and innovators from across academic institutions, venture capitalists, and leaders from the commercial space industry. 


  • Rick Tumlinson, Founding Partner SpaceFund, Founder Space Frontier Foundation
  • Dr. Douglas Terrier, Chief Technologist, NASA
  • Brig. Gen. Steven “Bucky” Butow, Director, Defense Innovation Unit
  • Col. Eric Felt, Director, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate
  • Col. Russell Teehan, Portfolio Architect, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center
  • Col. Nathan Diller, Director, AFWERX
  • Dr. Roberta Ewart, Chief Scientist, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center
  • Namrata Goswami, Author and Space Policy Expert
  • John Reed, Chief Technologist, United Launch Alliance
  • Aaron Pagel, Executive Director, Center for Space Commerce & Finance
  • Dr. Brent Ziarnick, Professor of National Security Studies, Air University
  • Meagan Crawford, Managing Partner, SpaceFund


DAY 1: September 29

  • Prepare for Liftoff: Interact with cutting edge space innovators and attendees: Learn about some of the space focused AFWERX Challenges and get a chance to visit with selected teams. Set your course through the Space Showcase with the help of your Space Coach who will ensure your EngageSpace experience is a success!
  • Mission Control: Learn about the future of space: Understand one mission driving space innovation and the role of the U.S. Space Force in achieving it.
  • Space Walk Debate: A net-new interactive panel: Hear prominent experts from NASA and other organizations debate the current status of space innovation.
  • Atmospheric Re-Entry: Leveraging AFWERX to accelerate your business: Learn the many ways AFWERX and the Air Force are facilitating the transition for AFWERX Challenge participants and other innovators to become fully contracted government partners.
  • Engage: Deep Dive on Doing Business in Space: Choose from 20 topics to learn from experts: Learn about the many ways to do business with the government in space, hear from industry experts, and dive deeper in topic-specific breakout discussions.


Day 2: September 30

  • Engage: Networking with the Innovators: Interact with cutting edge space companies: Non-traditional networking opportunity to meet and see the latest innovations from the teams selected from AFWERX’s space-focused open innovation challenges.
  • Engage: Deep Dive Space Ideation: All-attendee idea development session: Discover which participant-generated ideas from Day 1 made it to the top. Break up into groups to explore and develop specific ideas.
  • Enter into Orbit: Learn from successful space entrepreneurs: Hear how other entrepreneurs achieved success in working with the government.
  • Engage: Space Funding and Contracting Pathways: Hear from the experts: Get all your questions answered in Office Hours with funding and contracting experts from across the government and venture capital communities.
  • Engage: Networking Space: Happy hour and curated networking: Meet other EngageSpace participants, exhibitors, and government in a curated networking session.

Register today for the EngageSpace event by visiting




Established in 2017, AFWERX is the innovation catalyst for the Air Force and solves some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. AFWERX serves as a way to unleash new approaches for the warfighter through a growing ecosystem of innovators. AFWERX and the U.S. Air Force are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen the Air Force, which could lead to additional prototyping, research and development opportunities, and follow-on production contracts. #WeAreAFWERX   #InnovativeAF  @AFWERX @usairforce


Fast Company named AFWERX Best Workplaces for Innovators on the 2020 List, honoring the top 100 businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. AFWERX, U.S. Air Force’s innovation arm and catalyst for fostering innovation within the Air Force, came in at #16 ranking in the top 20 alongside brands such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Preview the live announcement with Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company, unveiled during the AFWERX Fusion 2020 Base of the Future Event & Showcase.


Media Contacts:

Tracy Skenandore / Makenzie Coombs

SpaceRef staff editor.