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APUS and PSO to Host Third Annual SESA on September 22-23, 2022

Speakers Include 1978 Mission Specialist Astronaut and NASA James Webb Telescope Expert at Free, Virtual Event

Charles Town, WV— September 20, 2022 –  American Public University System (APUS) and the Policy Studies Organization (PSO) will host the third annual Space Education and Strategic Applications Conference (SESA) on September 22-23, 2022. This year’s virtual event is free and open to the public, who can register online.

SESA 2022 features a robust event schedule covering a wide range of topics. The conference will promote multidisciplinary conversations about issues related to both military and commercial space at the intersection of science, technology, education, and policy. Panelists include speakers from government, military, corporate, advocacy, and academic spaces.

U.S. Air Force Col. Mike Mullane (retired), a Mission Specialist in the first group of Space Shuttle Astronauts, and Carl Starr, a James Webb telescope expert and Mission Operations Manager for NASA, will keynote—bringing together leaders, innovators, and industry decision-makers to focus on “Fifty Years from the Moon: The Future of Commercial, Government, and Military Space Exploration.”

Astronaut Mike Mullane was a child of the Space Race, who later embarked on rocket experiments in the 1950s before completing three space missions beginning in the 1980s, aboard the Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis.

“I believe that the lessons we learn from space exploration can be applied to many facets of life,” said Mullane. “SESA offers an opportunity for our industry to come together at all levels and explore this mindset, as our strategic application intersects with countless aspects of government, business, and everyday life.”

Starr — a 2020 Goddard Outstanding Public Leadership Medal recipient who earned a bachelor’s and master’s in Space Studies from American Military University — is now Missions Operations Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and he is based in Greenbelt, MD. Starr is responsible for observatory operations since the telescope separated from the launch vehicle.

“In my work with the James Webb Space Telescope Project, I see firsthand the importance of coordinated communication within the space industry, where collaboration is the key to exciting new breakthroughs,” said Starr. “The third annual SESA conference is sure to lead to enriching conversations for space professionals, scholars, and students alike as we strive for new answers.”

The conference will include facilitated conversations on space ethics and philosophy, including the social and political spectrums impacting today’s space studies. Talks from numerous APUS faculty, students, and guest experts will span science, engineering, law, exploration, commercial and military development, education, defense and security, and women in space, among other topics.

“As the space industry continues to conquer new frontiers, both in the sector as well as the military, American Public University System is proud to lead our third annual SESA conference—bringing some of the brightest minds from industry, government, military, and academia together for critical conversations on pivotal developments,” said Dr. Vernon C. Smith, Provost of APUS. “Beyond the SESA conference, APUS remains committed to promoting excellence in Space Studies, through our programs and academic journal SESA: “Space Education and Strategic Applications.”

APUS is proud to offer one of the top Space Studies programs in the nation, as ranked by Online Schools Report. Through the APUS Center for Space Studies (CSS), faculty work with students to support the development of skill and knowledge often required in the space sector. This includes coordinating space-related educational research and student activities across the University. APUS publishes the SESA Journal in conjunction with the Policy Studies Organization (PSO), to curate recent insights within the field. To learn more about the SESA 2022 Virtual Conference, visit here for the latest schedule and here to register.

SESA Conference

About American Public University System

American Public University System (APUS) delivers accessible and affordable online higher education to adult learners of all backgrounds. APUS, a five-time recipient of Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Effective Practice Award, offers more than 200 online degree and certificate programs through American Public University as well as American Military University, the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military and veterans.* With over 123,000 alumni worldwide, APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. APUS is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Public Education, Inc. (Nasdaq: APEI). For more information, visit

*Based on FY 2019 Department of Defense tuition assistance and Veterans Administration student enrollment data, as reported by Military Times, 2020.

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Frank Tutalo
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