U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson

The Space Foundation announced Heather Wilson, the 24th secretary of the U.S. Air Force, will be the keynote speaker during the Space Symposium Corporate Sponsorship Dinner April 17.

The 34th Space Symposium will take place at The Broadmoor hotel April 16-19, bringing together leaders from 30 spacefaring countries to discuss the future of the industry. Thousands of space professionals, including civil, commercial and defense space leaders are expected to attend.

Wilson is responsible for handling affairs for the Air Force as well as organizing, training and equipping 660,000 active-duty, guard, reserve and civilian forces. She also oversees the annual Air Force budget — more than $132 billion.

“[Wilson’s] attendance at the 34th Space Symposium underscores the importance of the conference,” said Kevin Cook, vice president for the Space Foundation’s marketing and communications, in an email. “She will undoubtedly address what she feels to be the greatest challenges and opportunities for the Air Force.”

Due to its location, the Space Symposium allows Colorado to be seen as a leader in aerospace, said Cook, adding the state hosts many major aerospace companies.

“Each year the Space Symposium provides our customers a valuable opportunity to gather, exhibit and discuss the important topics affecting space exploration and industry,” Cook said. “It is widely known as the one must-attend global space conference. … [It] provides a forum to discuss, address and plan for future achievements in space.”

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The 34th Space Symposium will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Space Foundation’s Technology Hall of Fame with events to recognize new space technology.

The Women’s Global Gathering, which celebrates the accomplishments and opportunities for women in space; workshops for space industry professionals 35 year or younger, and speeches from more than 100 national and international civil and military space leaders will also be part of the Space Symposium.

A few of the scheduled speakers include Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales; Sylvain Laporte, Canadian Space Agency president; and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, director general for the European Space Agency.

In addition to speakers and workshops, awards such as the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award and the Award for Space Exploration will be presented.

“The Space Symposium agenda will continue to grow, adding a range of dynamic speakers and panel topics,” Cook said. “We encourage people to register as early as possible. … We look forward to what we know will be another outstanding event.”

Guests can register online or go to spacesymposium.org for more information.