Press Release

Sessions on Space Investment and Funding Access Slated for Virtual ISSRDC

By SpaceRef Editor
July 28, 2021
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The 10th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) will include two sessions focused on space investment and funding access. ISSRDC 2021, to be held virtually August 3-5, will bring together researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and the general public to highlight the benefits of space-based research and technology development onboard the International Space Station (ISS). ISSRDC is hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA, and the American Astronautical Society.

The sessions, to be held on Day 2 and Day 3 of the event will highlight the multitude of opportunities available to entrepreneurs and startups looking to leverage the unique space-based environment of the ISS and beyond. Investments in space startups and early-stage companies reached an all-time high in 2020’s volatile market, with more than $9 billion flowing into the space infrastructure sector and another $20 billion committed to distribution and application businesses. Funding for these markets has continued to gain momentum in 2021, with the industry’s access to capital expanding in the private and public sectors. During the ISSRDC sessions, attendees will have the chance to hear from a wide range of industry and government leaders who will provide their perspectives on current industry and market trends.

On Day 2 of the conference, the “Investing in Space Startups: Opportunities and Challenges” session will be moderated by Carissa Christensen, founder and chief executive officer of BryceTech, a leading space analytics firm. This session’s panel will feature some of the most prominent investors in the space economy who will discuss key industry and investment trends as well as their outlook for the future. Panelists for this session include:

  • Thomas Gillespie, Managing Partner and Investment Lead, In-Q-Tel
  • Tess Hatch, Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Sunil Nagaraj, Founding and Managing Partner, Ubiquity Ventures
  • Eric Stallmer, Executive Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy, Voyager Space Holdings

Day 3 of the conference includes a session on “Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) in Space: A Multi-Agency Perspective on Opportunities and Trends.” This session will feature government program leaders who will discuss the critical importance of stimulating early-stage small business innovation through federal grants and funding opportunities to seed future commercialization advancements in low Earth orbit. The session will be moderated by Sven Eenmaa, director of investment and economic analysis for CASIS, manager of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. CASIS has partnered with multiple government agencies and funded dozens of research investigations that have launched, or will soon launch, to the orbiting laboratory under the sponsorship of the ISS National Lab. Panelists for this session include:

  • William Carter, Ph.D., Defense Sciences Office Program Manager, DARPA
  • Jason Kessler, SBIR/STTR Program Executive, NASA
  • Murali Nair, Ph.D., P.E., SBIR/STTR Program Director, National Science Foundation

Registration for ISSRDC 2021 is now open. The virtual conference is free to attend, but registration is required. To learn more about this year’s conference, view the current agenda and speakers, and register, please visit

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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under cooperative agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.