Space: Are We There Yet?

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Over the last 50 years, space exploration and manned space travel have been the exclusive domain of governments with the vast majority of space travelers on government missions. Today, we're at the dawn of a new era in spaceflight. The space frontier is opening up to private citizens and industry. Up to 11,000 private citizens are expected to take suborbital spaceflights in the next decade, and private companies are hauling supplies to the international space station and prospecting asteroids.

With more than 925 reservations booked for suborbital spaceflights and more than a dozen spaceports in the process of being built, the space tourism industry is expected to be a key enabler of space commerce and eventual space settlement in a $300+ billion global space economy.

However, developing space habitats will require resources. Just as humanity has tapped into and depended on natural resources here on earth, space settlement will depend on finding and mining resources in space.

The same spirit of innovation and entrepreneurial activity that occurred 100 years ago with the development of the aviation industry is occurring today in commercial space. Continued development of the space economy will require private investment in the growing supply chain of innovative and disruptive commercial space companies and suppliers.

As this new era unfolds, however, a number of questions come to mind:

  • How will the commercial space economy evolve in the next 20 years?
  • Will regulation create disadvantages?
  • How will national governments support exploration and development of space by the private sector?
  • What will be the triggers for mainstream investor interest in private space companies?
  • What will be the biggest opportunities for investors in the second Space Age?
  • What new opportunities are surfacing for entrepreneurs, scientists, and teachers as the commercial space industry grows?

Join us for an exciting evening of conversation at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, one of the largest air and space museums in the world, as we explore these questions with some of the industry's leading thinkers and executives- all against the backdrop of the museum's inspiring, full-scale exhibit of NASA's Space Shuttle Trainer.


Douglas King, President and CEO, Museum of Flight

Doug King leads a team of more than 500 staff members, docents, and volunteers whose mission is to make the Museum of flight the foremost educational air and space museum in the world. He reports to a volunteer Board of Trustees of community and national leaders that defined an extraordinary, world-class long-term vision to accomplish that goal in the decade ahead—Vision 2020.  

King joined the Museum of Flight in January of 2011 after fifteen years as President of the Saint Louis Science Center, one of the nation’s 25 largest museums.

Founded by the families of the Challenger crew, the center now has established educational facilities in more than 50 cities across North America and England, including St. Louis and Seattle.

King has been appointed by the Administrator of NASA to the Agency's Education and Public Outreach Committee and by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to the Air Force Civic Leaders Group, where he earned the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. He has also served as Chairman of the NASA Education Advisory Committee, and as a member of the NASA Advisory Council. He received his BS degree in Engineering from Stanford University and his MBA in Finance from the University of Washington.


William J. Pomerantz

Will Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. In that role, Will extends Virgin Galactic’s efforts beyond space tourism, including projects to fly research and educational payloads onboard the suborbital spacecraft SpaceShipTwo and to launch small satellites into orbit onboard LauncherOne.

Will also serves as a Trustee of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the world's largest student space organization. He is a graduate of Harvard University, the NASA Academy, and the International Space University.

From 2005 - 2011, he worked at the X PRIZE Foundation, the world-leading incentive prize organization, where he served as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X CHALLENGE.

He has also worked at Harvard and Brown Universities, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations, and was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of, an early social network for space professionals.


Chris Lewicki, President & Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc. 

Mr. Lewicki has been intimately involved with the lifecycle of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers and the Phoenix Mars Lander. Lewicki performed system engineering development and participated in assembly, test and launch operations for both Mars missions. He was Flight Director for the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and the Surface Mission Manager for Phoenix.  

The recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, Lewicki has an asteroid named in his honor: 13609 Lewicki. Chris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona.

At Planetary Resources, Mr. Lewicki is responsible for the strategic development of the company’s mission and vision, engagement with customers and the scientific community, serves as technical compass, and leads day to day operations.

Joe Landon, Managing Director, Space Angels Network

Joe Landon is Managing Director of Space Angels Network, a global angel investor group focused on financing early-stage aerospace and aviation companies.  

His leadership has facilitated millions in private investments in ventures ranging from privately-built spaceplanes to in-space robotics.  Space Angels Network has rapidly grown to become the leading source of startup capital for aerospace startups.

Mr. Landon also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Planetary Power, a company offering hybrid and renewable energy technologies that are transforming off-grid and distributed power generation.

Previously, Mr. Landon led Spaceflight Program Development at Space Adventures Ltd., the only company brokering private citizen missions to the International Space Station. He also worked as an engineer and project manager for Boeing Satellite Systems where he led the design, manufacturing and testing of commercial communication satellites.  He later managed sales at McMaster-Carr, a multi-billion-dollar industrial supply distributor and key supplier to aerospace manufacturing companies worldwide. 

Mr. Landon holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering-Physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California where he currently serves on the Department of Astronautical Engineering Advisory  Board.  He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was an Arthur Rock Entrepreneurial Fellow.

***Ticket price includes admission to the Museum of Flight 10 am - 5 pm on the day of the forum***

Event Schedule:

5:00p                            Museum Galleries Close

5:30p – 6:30p             Networking / exhibit viewing / Cash bar / hors d’oeuvre buffet by McCormick & Schmick’s

6:30p – 8:00p             Panel discussion

8:00p – 8:15p             Q&A

Presented in partnership with the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County

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