Satellites, Storm Troopers and Feather Boas: Wednesday at the National Space Symposium

And of course, the Storm Troopers. Because you can't have a space show without a bunch of Star Wars characters wandering around, taking pictures with Air Force members.

The National Space Symposium, on a Wednesday night.

Once a year, Colorado Springs, CO, becomes the heart of the space community when the National Space Symposium (NSS) comes to town.

It can be an odd show, because while the military side of things is still cautiously operating under sequestration, the commercial side of things is going full-bore. And at the end of the day, even military space contractors are doing pretty well.

Because of that, there’s a certain party atmosphere that occurs at the show. It’s like one big family reunion, where the space community comes together, does some work in the morning, and then parties through the night. (“Space prom,” someone called it.) That’s particularly true on the Wednesday of the show, when companies throw large parties open to all attendees.  It’s a throwback to the days of the mid-2000s, when money was nearly unlimited for many firms.

I tried to capture some of that this year, as you’ll see below, although I don’t think I really did it justice. It’s a strange feeling, being among the corporate excess of a conference with such a heavy military presence. (Full disclosure: I also partook of the hospitality, because it’s really hard to turn down free food when someone keeps offering it to you.)

Before we get to that, here are some highlights from our NSS coverage:

Now… onto the show. All photos taken by the author, poorly, using an iPhone.


Aaron Mehta

Aaron Mehta

Air Warfare Correspondent at Defense News
Aaron covers the Air Force for Defense News. In his spare time, he tweets about the Air Force for Defense News. Follow him @AaronMehta
Aaron Mehta