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American Public University System and Policy Studies Organization to Host Two-Day Virtual Conference on Space Studies

Thought Leaders to Discuss Space Exploration, Education, Entrepreneurship

Charles Town, WV—September 16, 2020 – In an effort to elevate a multi-disciplinary conversation on the growing role of space in education, exploration and commerce, American Public University System (APUS) is teaming up with the Policy Studies Organization (PSO) to host its first-ever virtual Space Education and Strategic Applications (SESA) Conference on October 15 and 16, 2020. The free event will feature speakers from NASA, the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, and American Military University (AMU) among others.

You can view the preliminary agenda and register to attend at the SESA conference registration site(

The two-day virtual conference, which starts at 8 a.m. Eastern on October 15, will include discussions on space exploration, space entrepreneurship, space medicine, Mars exploration rovers, among other related topics. It will foster more in-depth conversations about issues related to military and civilian space at the intersection of science, technology and policy at a time when space operations have become increasingly important, due in part to the recently established U.S. Space Force.  

Numerous roundtable panels and keynotes will take place, including sessions led by:

  • The Honorable Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the U.S. Air Force;
  • Julielynn Wong, a physician, scientist and pilot who is internationally recognized for using 3-D printing to deliver healthcare solutions to remote environments, including outer space;
  • Maria Demaree, Vice President and General Manager, Missions Solutions, Lockheed Martin Space, Lockheed Corporation; 
  • Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, Honorary Professor and Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham;
  • Mark T. Peters II, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (retired);
  • Natalie Panek, Senior Engineer in Mission Systems at MDA;
  • S. Navy Lt. Jordan Foley, Georgetown University Law Center;
  • Todd Barber, Senior Propulsion Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“It’s such a crucial time for space studies, both globally and at our university, said Dr. Vernon C. Smith, Provost of APUS. “We are excited to bring together so many forward-thinkers in both commercial and military space to amplify the global conversation. This virtual event is part of APUS’ long-term commitment to Space Studies, a discipline with accelerating interest and for which we have structured relevant curricula to support both undergraduate and graduate pursuits.”

APUS continues its student-centered approach to help advance knowledge of space studies in several ways, including the planned creation of:

  • A Center for Space Studies which fosters collaboration in identifying and creating educational opportunities to support the development of a workforce for the growing needs of the space sector;
  • An observatory featuring a fully remote-controlled 24-inch reflecting telescope equipped with a highly sophisticated digital camera, which acts as a dedicated resource for original astronomical research in Charles Town;
  • A new Space Education & Strategic Applications Journal, which covers a range of space-related topics and accepts submissions from experts in the field.

APUS is co-hosting the event with the non-profit Policy Studies Organization, a sponsor of conferences, publisher of academic journals and producer of programs which disseminates scholarships and information to serve those making and evaluating policy. Conference presenters can submit manuscripts of their presentations for potential publication in the journal, either prior to or following the conference.

Supporting Resources

  • To view the event agenda, visit here.
  • For questions on the Oct. 15-16 event, please contact Daniel Gutierrez, PSO Executive Director, at [email protected].
  • To learn more about the APU Space Studies program, visit here. To learn more about the AMU Space Studies program, visit here.
  • To read content on space education, visit the Space Education and Strategic Applications Journal. To submit papers to the journal, contact Dr. Melissa Layne, Associate Vice President of Research and Innovation at APU, at [email protected].

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Frank Tutalo

Frank Tutalo
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About American Public University System

American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and five-time recipient of OLC’s Effective Practice Award, offers more than 200 online degree and certificate programs through American Military University, the #1 provider of education to the U.S. military*, and American Public University. Over 100,000 alumni worldwide have benefited from APUS’s relevant, flexible curriculum and value. For more information, visit

*Based on FY 2019 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times.