For immediate release
San Antonio — March 2, 2012 — The 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference (NSRC-2012), held Feb. 27–29 in Palo Alto, Calif., set attendance and corporate sponsorship records that show an accelerating interest in the field by researchers, educators and commercial firms. NSRC was jointly organized by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and NASA's Ames Research Center.
"NSRC-2012 was the third annual NSRC conference we've held," said Dr. Alan Stern, the meeting convener and associate vice president of SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division. "We had more than 400 people in attendance this year and 34 funding sponsors. Registrants came from 16 countries on six continents. Additionally, more than 120 oral and almost 20 poster presentations were made.
"Each of these metrics is close to double what NSRC attracted in 2010, demonstrating a steep increase in the potential of these new vehicles and services in the space research and education market," said Stern.
Keynote speakers included Apollo moon landing pioneer and former X-15 suborbital test pilot Neil Armstrong, Virgin Galactic chief pilot David MacKay, Challenger Center for Space Science Education founder Dr. June Scobee Rogers, FAA Associate Administrator Dr. George Nield and NASA Ames Research Center Director Dr. Pete Worden. Some 24 technical sessions and four panels formed the heart of NSRC-2012. The meeting was further supplemented by a NASA Flight Opportunities Program workshop.
Following on the increasing interest in next-generation suborbital vehicles for use in space research and education, NSRC-2013 is already being planned. That conference will take place in Colorado in June 2013.
For more information, contact Deb Schmid, (210) 522-2254, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.